US warns UK that Huawei will 'steal state secrets'

(Image credit: Future)

The UK has once again been urged by the American government not to use 5G infrastructure equipment from Chinese giant Huawei.

U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has warned that allowing Huawei into its 5G telecommunications network means risking the UK’s secret intelligence services.

Huawei has frequently denied any allegations that its products are a security risk, while the US has not produced any evidence to support its claims.


Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr O'Brien claimed that Huawei’s 5G gear can and will be used by the Chinese government for espionage.

“They are just going to steal wholesale state secrets, whether they are the UK’s nuclear secrets or secrets from MI6 or MI5,” O’Brien said. “It is somewhat shocking to us that folks in the UK would look at Huawei as some sort of a commercial decision. 5G is a national security decision."

O'Brien added that people in Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Australia were starting to understand what the US has been saying all this time.

Although the US has longed believed that Huawei poses a risk to national security and should be banned, the Chinese telecommunications giant vehemently denies the accusations. It called for international oversight of its technologies and offered free and unobscured access to its source code.

President Trump's administration added Huawei to its trade blacklist in May, citing national security concerns, with US companies currently banned from using telecommunications equipment made by firms that supposedly pose such a national security risk.

However US pressure has had limited effect in Europe, where Huawei has a significant presence. There is little support for a ban because of concerns that costs would rise and innovation would decline as a result.

Last month, Huawei opened a 5G Innovation and Experience Centre in London to try and continue to promote its own technology. The company has so far signed 60 commercial 5G contracts, including with all four UK mobile operators.

Via The Financial Times

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.