Published in El Pais, 28 August 2018.
A while ago I wrote about how well Huawei was doing with their P20 phone despite carrying a higher price tag then the iPhone X and being all but shut out from the US market due to their close ties to the Chinese government. It appears the US government are not alone in this fear as the Australian government has taken things even a step further by outright banning the company along with ZTE from working with carriers to develop a 5G network in their country.
So why all the fear of a Chinese conspiracy secretly operating one of the worlds largest mobile companies? Why are countries like the US and Australia either banning or imposing restrictions while Europe and Canada are welcoming the company with open arms? Well it turns out this fear is not completely unwarranted due to a Chinese law which states that all governments and organizations must come to the aid of the intelligence service agency upon request. Essentially in theory Huawei must help create intentional design flaws in their devices and networks should the Chinese government request it (with nothing to suggest that has been the case) and can work with them long after the networks and devices are built.
While 5G is touted as a security first network one could be worried about the potential damage a compromised 5G network can bring to a society. One of the major advantages of 5G being touted is the ability to connect almost anything to the internet from refrigerators to lightbulbs, bringing your entire house at the control of your smartphones. This of course brings more potential entries for hackers to infiltrate various networks and at speeds not yet realized before thanks to the anticipated power that 5G will bring.
Should countries be so worried about mobile carriers so closely tied to the Chinese government? That law is something that is concerning, and perhaps various governments can work with China to remove that law. Security should be a concern with 5G but personally I think the biggest threat is from non-government sources and if we work together to develop a proper security system while the network is being developed we should have no problem with working Huawei to bring in a new age.