Parliament to look at UK involvement of Huawei

A parliamentary select committee is looking into Huawei’s operations in the UK following controversy around the safety of using the firm’s technology

A parliamentary select committee has confirmed it is looking into Huawei’s operations in the UK following controversy around the safety of using the firm’s technology.

The intelligence and security committee would not go into detail about the investigation, but told Computer Weekly it has been “considering the involvement of Huawei in the UK”.

The admission came after a US congress committee released a report warning its government and businesses to avoid Huawei technology as it could enable the Chinese government to spy on its data networks and extract sensitive information, posing a risk to national security.

The committee’s chair, Mike Rogers, said in a television interview: “Find another supplier if you care about your intellectual property, if you care about your consumers’ privacy, and if you care about the national security of the USA.”

The UK committee examined Huawei two years ago, but deemed the technology safe to proceed with. Huawei has since signed a number of large deals with UK businesses, including providing components for BT’s broadband business and working with TalkTalk on its HomeSafe internet security offering.

It even received an endorsement by association from Prime Minister David Cameron after he met with Ren Zhengfei at 10 Downing Street to celebrate the £1.3bn investment the company was making in its UK operations.

Both BT and TalkTalk have stood by the company, claiming their own security checks meant there was no threat to customers.

“We work closely with Huawei on commercial security best practice, and our relationship with Huawei is managed strictly in accordance with UK laws,” said a spokesman from BT.

“BT's network is underpinned by robust security controls and built-in resilience. We always work closely with each of our suppliers – and government where appropriate – to gain assurance through rigorous review that the security of the network is not compromised,” he said.

A TalkTalk spokesman added: “Huawei has been a partner of ours for a number of years, as it has been for most of the British telecommunications industry, and we will continue working with it.

“Any British company working with Huawei has been given clearance to do so by the necessary authorities. We value our partnership with Huawei, which has helped us bring great value phone and broadband to this country.”

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