Australia Bans Huawei from Supplying 5G Tech

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Australia banned Chinese telecom Huawei from supplying equipment for a 5G network, citing security concerns. The move follows America’s restriction of Huawei and fellow Chinese telecom ZTE, for similar reasons. Both have denied they pose a security risk.

The Australian government said Thursday, national security regulations typically imposed on carriers would now be applied to equipment suppliers, Reuters reported. Companies “who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government” would leave the country’s network vulnerable to unauthorized access or interference, and presented a security threat, the Australian government said in a statement.

Huawei said Thursday, the Australian government also banned ZTE from providing 5G technology for the country’s wireless networks. ZTE did not immediately respond to a request for comment, reported CNN. The company is still recovering from a U.S. government ban that prevented it from doing business with American companies for several months.  

In response to Thursday’s action, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said at a news briefing in Beijing, that China urges the Australian government “to abandon ideological prejudices and provide a fair competitive environment for Chinese companies’ operations,” according to Reuters.

U.S Security agencies say companies like Huawei and ZTE work with their government for intelligence purposes and that can make their equipment a conduit to spy on other countries and their telecom customers. Australia “basically made a decision to spend more money to have more control over their national communication system, because they’re up against a competitor that will sacrifice near-term margin for long-term intelligence advantage,” John Watters, Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Strategy Officer of cybersecurity firm FireEye told Reuters.

Australia previously banned Huawei from supplying equipment for its fiber network, including blocking the Chinese telecom from laying cables in the Pacific Ocean.

August 24, 2018

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