Germany should ignore US pressure to exclude Huawei from its next-generation 5G networks, rejecting allegations that the Chinese manufacturer would pose a security risk.
According to German media, a weekend meeting of the German government has looked into the matter and has actually rejected US efforts to impose a global ban on society. The meeting considered a report from its own security services which indicated that it found no evidence of espionage.
The report reflects early indications by UK security services that they would have been unable to find any evidence that Huawei was installing backdoors in its products, which is credible given that GCHQ has access to Huawei's source code. A final report is expected this spring.
Coinciding with the German critical discussions, Huawei's previously silent leadership has granted targeted interviews to German and British news publications to advocate their case.
The founder of the company, Ren Zhengfei – whose daughter was arrested in Canada earlier this year at the request of US authorities – told the BBC that it was "impossible for the United States to crush" the company and complained that the arrest of his daughter was political.
Meanwhile, the head of Huawei's German arm, Dennis Zuo, spoke to Handelsblatt and actively rejected the spying statements. "Network security is our top priority," Zuo said, adding that the Chinese government "does not hold a stake in Huawei" and stays out of its factories. He said the company would be open and transparent about mobile network security.
Although the German government meeting finally decided to adopt a diplomatic approach – neither reject nor approve Huawei – it made it clear that it was skeptical of US security claims when the German data protection commissioner, Ulrich Kelber, in an interview with Handelsblatt, pointed out that "the United States itself has made sure once backdoors are integrated into Cisco hardware."
Uncle Sam: You can buy the technology easily, or the Huawei
Kelber added that he found it "very interesting, that only Americans warn Huawei". The German Foreign Office would be more convinced than other departments that Huawei represents a potential threat to security. Earlier this month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel took a middle stance on the issue, refusing to say that she would ban Huawei, while noting that it would not be acceptable to the company to share data with the Chinese government.
The anti-Huawei rhetoric emanating from Washington, unquestionably accepted in the United States, has been raising eyebrows for nearly a year.
The US telephone companies have aggressively defended the dubious concept of a "5G race" and persuaded the legislator of its importance by using the fear of Chinese dominance as counterpoint. Currently, US and European companies dominate the mobile phone market and hold most of the patents on emerging 5G technology, but China is making significant progress and some fear that as the 5G standard is developed, Chinese companies go beyond American companies and harvest the next generation chaos.
Billions of dollars are at stake and a determining issue for the future of mobile phone networks. But instead of focusing all their efforts on innovative Chinese companies, US companies have put considerable energy into frightening people, painting Chinese companies and especially Huawei as a security risk.
In addition, Huawei is able to manufacture and sell its equivalent products at a significantly lower price than its US competitors because of lower labor costs.
Lack of evidence
While security claims have been deepened and no evidence has been brought, the US argument has been echoed by a 2017 law passed by the Chinese government, which requires all Chinese companies to cooperate with its intelligence services, as appropriate.
Trump administrations seized this law – despite the fact that the US had similar deals with many tech companies – with many officials and most recently Vice President Mike Pence explicitly warning countries that allowing Huawei to enter their networks is equivalent to granting an open door to the Chinese. government.
The rhetoric has become so blatant that a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed concern over the use by its president of an unsecured personal cell phone to make calls to say so insolently that if the US government "really feared for Apple phones, then they could change" using Huawei. "
There is of course a risk with Huawei. As there are with American equipment. And the Europeans are trapped and do not wish to upset any of the two parties, both of whom are important trading partners.
The solution that seems to emerge in both the United Kingdom and Germany is that of prudent diversity, where particular attention is given to the most important networks that require a high level of security and a certain degree of autonomy. technology is introducing the country to become too dependent on any business, American or Chinese. Japan has already rejected US calls for a ban on Huawei.
Several European companies can also provide 5G equipment and European governments will probably be more comfortable if one of them builds the most sensitive networks.
Do you remember Snowden?
The irony is of course that fears of undetectable espionage sponsored by the state through a network are credible only because the US government has managed to achieve this goal through its National Security Agency (NSA).
The roses are red, the ketchup too, Huawei "naked" told his detractors
In 2014, confidential NSA documents leaked revealed, among other things, that the US spying agency had immediately intercepted and intercepted Cisco equipment while it was going to buyers to spy on network traffic. The snoops also exploited remotely accessible vulnerabilities in Cisco firewalls and used a combination of secret laws and covert operations to exploit Internet and mobile networks around the world. Oh, and President Obama was forced to personally assure Chancellor Merkel that the NSA was not tapping on her mobile phone, using language that seemed to confirm that she had been doing it exactly for years.
Since the NSA did this to the US tech giant Cisco, it is not surprising that Uncle Sam is paranoid about Chinese spies and Huawei.
Although Germany prefers to dismiss the debate by refusing to take a step in one direction or another with regard to the goliath of Chinese technology, the euro nation will reach a tough deadline next month by opening bids for 5G airspace.
If it blocks Huawei in its networks, Germany will probably have to announce such an approach before the start of the auction in order to dispel any uncertainty for the bidders. If it says nothing, this will be considered an implicit recognition that Huawei equipment will be accepted in German 5G networks. ®