The government is launching a review of a vetting process for products from Huawei Technologies, reflecting continuing security concerns about the Chinese company.
Under scrutiny will be Huawei's Cyber Security Evaluation Centre in Banbury, Oxfordshire, which the company set up in 2010 as a way to test company products for possible security vulnerabilities. Yesterday, prime minister David Cameron's government issued a statement, ordering a review of the centre that will look at its effectiveness to protect the nation's telecommunication infrastructure.
The review comes after the Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee issued a report in June, expressing concern about Huawei's alleged ties with the Chinese government, which has been accused of state-sponsored hacking. In particular, the committee was "shocked" that Huawei was able to supply sensitive telecommunication infrastructure to operator BT without consultation with government ministers.
As early as 2008, the British Security Service had determined that China could theoretically exploit vulnerabilities in Huawei products to conduct espionage over BT's networks, the committee's report said.
In 2010, however, Huawei established its Cyber Security Evaluation Centre in the UK. But in its June report, the committee noted that Huawei's evaluation centre is still under the company's control rather than the government. The committee recommended that Huawei's evaluation centre be made up of employees from British intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
Huawei said that it supports the decision to review its evaluation centre. "Huawei shares the same goal as the UK government and the ISC [Intelligence and Security Committee] in raising the standards of cyber security in the UK and ensuring that network technology benefits UK consumers," it added.
While the UK government plans to review Huawei's evaluation centre, it also said that it already works with communication service providers to ensure their networks are secure.
"Our work with Huawei and their UK customers gives us confidence that the networks in the UK that use Huawei equipment are operated to a high standard of security and integrity," the government said.