Tuesday, 19 February 2019 08:07

New Zealand says will make own decision on Huawei

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New Zealand says will make own decision on Huawei Pixabay

New Zealand says it will carry out its own risk-assessment to make a final decision on whether to use equipment from Chinese telecommunications gear maker Huawei Technologies in its 5G networks.

The comment by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a regular weekly news conference on Monday came after a report said Britain's National Cyber Security Centre had found that any risk posed by Huawei to 5G networks could be mitigated.

In November, New Zealand's General Communications Security Bureau, the country's main spy agency, said it had refused telco Spark permission to use Huawei equipment in its 5G network after the two companies demonstrated the technical implementation of access and core separation for 5G.

Ardern said the GCSB had given Spark options to mitigate the security concerns over the use of Huawei equipment. "The ball is now in their court," she said.

Huawei has set up a Cyber Security Evaluation Centre in the UK where its staff work alongside members of the NCSC to sort out any issues perceived as causing security issues for British networks. Each year, the CSEC's Oversight Board issues a report, outlining issues, if any.

The British Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport is also carrying out a review of the country's telecommunications infrastructure and it is likely to contain recommendations on the Huawei issue.

Ardern said that the GCSB would look at the country's legislation and its own assessments while making a decision.

She said while it was fair to say that the Five Eyes nations — the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — shared intelligence information, Wellington made its own independent decisions.

Contacted for comment, Spark Corporate Relations lead Andrew Pirie said the company was not commenting on the British situation as it had no specific insight into the conclusions of the NCSC, nor what implications it held for the final UK decision on Huawei.

"In New Zealand, we are still in discussions with GCSB officials," Pirie added.

"We are working through what possible mitigations we might be able to provide to address the concerns raised by the GCSB, and have not yet made any decision on whether or when we should submit a revised proposal to GCSB."

iTWire has also contacted Huawei for comment.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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