Banning Huawei Won’t Protect Canada’s 5G Network: REPORT

The Citizen Lab has published a report that investigates Huawei, 5G technologies, and Canadian telecommunications issues.

According to the report (via The Globe and Mail), the real issue is not communications security but Canada’s failure to have a cohesive approach to a secure telecommunications infrastructure regardless of the manufacturer’s country of origin.

The report claims that Canada has a 5G strategy problem that is “linked to the Government of Canada lacking a principle-driven set of integrated industrial, cyber security, and foreign policy strategies that directly and meaningfully address the challenges raised by the current and expected 5G landscape.”

Citizen Lab notes that some allegations that the company has benefited from state- or corporate-driven corporate espionage appear to be true. But, any 5G strategy shouldn’t be designed to solve a Huawei problem. Rather, it says, the strategy should “ensure the resiliency, security and availability of all 5G technologies regardless of the vendor that produces them.”

Christopher Parsons, the author of the Citizen Lab study, said he expects Ottawa to bar Huawei, particularly since Washington cut off the Chinese company from a key source of semiconductors made with US technology.

“I think the government will have a strong justification on the basis that the contemporary next-generation infrastructure that Huawei is producing will be much more difficult to secure in the absence of having access to American intellectual property that is under sanction by the United States,” he said.

The Globe and Mail quotes industry sources expecting that not only will Ottawa eventually refuse to allow them to buy Huawei 5G network equipment, it will also follow the U.K. lead and require telcos to remove Huawei 3G and 4G equipment as well over several years.

A member of the Five Eyes intelligence co-operative with the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, Canada is the only country that either has not banned or restricted Huawei from 5G networks.

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