Latest reports suggest Australia has blocked Huawei and ZTE from providing equipment for its 5G network, which is to be launched commercially next year. This was disclosed by Huawei in a tweet, it stated that the Australian government has banned Huawei and ZTE from supplying 5G technology to the country. This has happened in spite of Huawei assurance that it does not pose a threat to national security.
Under the new security guidelines for 5G carriers issued by the Australian government though it didn’t mention Huawei, ZTE or China specifically, it was strongly hinted towards them.
We have been informed by the Govt that Huawei & ZTE have been banned from providing 5G technology to Australia. This is a extremely disappointing result for consumers. Huawei is a world leader in 5G. Has safely & securely delivered wireless technology in Aust for close to 15 yrs
— Huawei Australia (@HuaweiOZ) August 22, 2018
The guidelines suggested –
“the Government considers that the involvement of vendors who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law, may risk failure by the carrier to adequately protect a 5G network from unauthorized access or interference.”
With the Australian government decided to ask Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese companies to comply to the new law passed last year, which makes it compulsory to for all Chinese organizations and citizens to provide information to national intelligence agencies when asked have made several countries wary of using their technology.
Already the US has banned the use of most Huawei and ZTE technology by government agencies and contractors earlier this month. Actions were taken after a congressional report first cited the two companies as security threats.
The Australian government in its latest security guidelines mentions that differences in the way 5G operates compared to previous network generations introduce new risks to national security. The cause of concern was the diminishing distinctions between the core network, where more sensitive functions like access control and data routing occur, and the edge, or radios that connect customer equipment, like laptops and mobile phones, to the core.
The guidelines further stated – “This new architecture provides a way to circumvent traditional security controls by exploiting equipment in the edge of the network – exploitation which may affect overall network integrity and availability, as well as the confidentiality of customer data. A long history of cyber incidents shows cyber actors target Australia and Australians. The government has found no combination of technical security controls that sufficiently mitigate the risks.”
In a move to protect their networks and infrastructure from national security threats and also notify the government of any proposed changes that may compromise the security of their network, Australia introduced the Telecommunications Sector Security Reforms (TSSR), which takes effect next month. Under the reforms, all carriers and telecommunication service providers will have to protect their networks and infrastructure from national security threats and also notify the government of any proposed changes that may compromise the security of their network. The government also gets the power to “intervene and issue directions in cases where there are significant national security concerns that cannot be addressed through other means.”
Earlier in June Huawei’s Australian chairman John Lord said that the company had received legal advice that its Australian operations are not bound to Chinese laws and he would refuse to hand over any data to the Chinese government in breach of Australian law. He also felt banning Huawei could hurt local businesses and customers as it would result in prices rise and limited access to technology.