More and more countries and telecom companies “are waking up to the danger of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state” and allowing only trusted vendors in their 5G networks, excluding Huawei from deals with their telecommunications operators due to the Chinese company’s ties with the Chinese military, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
Companies like Huawei are required by China’s security law “to share any information that they have and that includes the private information, whether that’s health care information or other personal information of a citizen from the Czech Republic or a citizen of Germany or France,” Pompeo said at the German Marshall Fund of the United States’s Brussels Forum 2020 on Thursday.
Huawei can easily intercept any information that transits its system without even needing a backdoor or any “secret access” because “they own the infrastructure,” Pompeo said. “That information will be in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party as Huawei has a legal obligation to provide it to them.”
This is “the most egregious privacy violations in the world,” he added.
Among European countries that allow only trusted 5G vendors to build their 5G networks are the Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden, Estonia, Romania, Denmark, and Latvia, Pompeo said in the statement.
“Greece agreed to use Ericsson rather than Huawei to develop its 5G infrastructure,” the statement said.
In March, the largest Greek mobile service provider, Cosmote, selected Ericsson—a Swedish telecommunication company as an exclusive 5G supplier—for its 5G infrastructure, according to Ericsson’s statement.
Cosmote, which is part of the Deutsche Telekom Group, plans to launch commercial 5G services in 2021, the statement said.
Polish President Andrzej Duda signed a joint statement with President Donald Trump during his visit to the White House on Wednesday, which stipulated that Poland and the United States will only deal with what is a “diverse supply chain of trusted 5G vendors.”
Some of the largest telecom companies around the world also use only trusted 5G vendors. Among them are Orange in France, Jio in India, Telstra in Australia, SK and KT in South Korea, NTT in Japan, and O2 in the United Kingdom, Pompeo called these “Clean Telcos.”
In addition, Canada’s top three telecom giants have already excluded Huawei from their 5G networks. Earlier in June, Bell Canada selected Ericsson as its 5G network partner and Telus Mobility will use both Ericsson and Nokia as its 5G service providers. Rogers Communications had already chosen Ericsson in 2018.
Huawei entered the Canadian market in 2008 and its equipment was widely used by Bell and Telus.
“Public opinion in Canada was overwhelmingly against allowing Huawei to build Canada’s 5G networks,” Pompeo said in the statement.
The CEO of another multinational telecom giant operating in South and Central America and Europe, Telefonica, said recently that it “is proud to be a 5G Clean Path company.”
“Telefonica Spain and O2 (UK) are fully clean networks, and Telefonica Deutschland (Germany) and Vivo (Brazil) will be in the near future without equipment from any untrusted vendors,” the State Department said in a statement.
Excluding untrusted vendors from 5G networks is especially important for the five countries that share intelligence through the Five Eyes Alliance. Canada is the only country that has not made yet a decision to ban Huawei from the construction of its 5G network.
The United States, Australia, and New Zealand had already banned Huawei from participating in their 5G networks, and the UK has also decided to expel Huawei from its market within three years.