The UK’s top cyber security agency has reaffirmed its commitment to working with Chinese smartphone giant Huawei after US spy chiefs accused the company of presenting a national security risk.
The Government and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) will “continue to benefit” from collaboration with Huawei, according to an NCSC spokesman. It comes despite US government employees potentially being banned from using the Chinese company’s smartphones due to security fears.
In the UK, Huawei operates a cyber security centre alongside members of GCHQ. Known as “The Cell”, it is set up to monitor threats and backdoors in the company’s own hardware. It is staffed by Huawei researchers overseen by the NCSC.
Last week, US intelligence chiefs from the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency repeatedly warned against Huawei’s phones and recommended US consumers should avoid them.
“We’re deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks,” FBI Director Chris Wray said.
The UK’s relationship with Huawei has taken a different path than its ally, however. Rather than blocking the company, UK spies from GCHQ work closely with the Chinese company.
“Huawei is a globally important company whose presence in the UK reflects our reputation as a global hub for technology, innovation and design,” an NCSC spokesman said.
“This government and British telecoms operators work with Huawei at home and abroad to ensure the UK can continue to benefit from new technology while managing cyber security risks.”
Last week, six top US intelligence officials warned a Senate committee about buying Huawei smartphones, while US senators have introduced a bill which would ban Huawei smartphones from use by government officials, but industry analysts have accused it of stoking fears to enable protectionism.
UK companies recently signed £3bn worth of contracts with the technology giant, during Theresa May’s trade visit to China. Mobile industry experts expect Huawei to significantly increase its marketing push in Europe after a US deal to sell Huawei phones with AT&T fell through.
Political fears about Huawei have mainly existed in the US, although in 2013 the UK’s Intelligence and Security Committee published a report on the company’s influence. While it has only recently started to market smartphones in the UK and Europe, such has the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, the company has worked with clients such as BT and supplied telecoms material for more than a decade.
A Huawei spokesman said: “Huawei is aware of a range of US government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei’s business in the US market.
“Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities. We are committed to openness and transparency in everything we do.”
This content was originally published here.