Huawei to Come Under Tighter Supervision in the UK
Published on: 17th Dec 2013
By: Ian Mansfield
China's Huawei is to come under closer supervision in the UK following a government review of the oft cited security concerns surrounding the company.
A report earlier this year had said that while it found no evidence to support mainly US claims that the company acts on behalf of Chinese military, it did raise some concerns about the oversight of a local testing centre the company opened to prove its products were safe to use.
The main worry was that while the testing centre was supposed to be independent, it was mainly staffed by Huawei employees. This lead to concerns of conflicts of interest when analyising equipment and software.
A second review was therefore carried out by the National Security Advisor, Sir Kim Darroch and its findings have been published by the British government.
The government's main conclusion, which reflects discussion with the Chairman of the ISC, is that oversight of the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) should be enhanced, and that the UK's own spy agency, GCHQ should take a leading and directing role in its future senior appointments.
The review recommended that, in future, GCHQ should lead and direct senior HCSEC appointments (in consultation with Huawei), in particular through chairing the selection panel.
The move may help to assuage some of the ongoing concerns about whether the firm is acting on behalf of Chinese spy agencies. Whether that will deal with predominantly US political concerns will remain to be seen.
"We are pleased that the model of the UK government, the telecom operators and Huawei working together in an open and transparent way has been recognised as the best approach for providing reassurance on the security of products and solutions deployed in the UK," Huawei said in a statement.