The European Union (EU) on Wednesday announced strict guidelines for the new 5G communications infrastructure. The union advised member states to investigate suppliers in view of security risks but declined to take steps such as banning Chinese technology company Huawei, which the US government has been campaigning for across the world.
“This is a major loss for American national security, foreign policy and technology policy,” Peter Singer of the think-tank New America in Washington.
The EU is a union of 28 countries in Europe. Britain will leave it at the end of this month. Thereafter, 27 member countries will remain in the EU.
The new 5G plan asks EU member countries to evaluate the risk profile of suppliers. According to the plan, suppliers who would be considered riskier would be subjected to related restrictions as per their risk profile. This would prevent those suppliers from supplying to properties considered critical and sensitive.
The UK announced on Tuesday the entry of Huawei for building its 5G network. The UK government said in a statement that UK companies would be able to use Huawei’s devices in the 5G network. However, the British government added that Huawei would not be given entry in sensitive areas in terms of security.
The US banned Huawei last year. The Trump administration of the US pressured many other countries to ban Huawei. After Britain granted entry to Huawei, the US has requested its ally to reconsider the decision.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month in an article, “It’s critical that European countries not give control of their critical infrastructure to Chinese tech giants… Just consider Huawei’s track record… It is implicated in espionage in the Czech Republic, Poland and the Netherlands, [and] has allegedly stolen intellectual property from foreign competitors in Germany, Israel, the UK and the US.
David Edelman, formerly on the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, now running MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative, said, “The (US) administration’s case goes like this. They say first that Huawei equipment is generally less secure than its competitors. Second, (they say) that the Chinese security services might find it irresistible to try to steal secrets. Third, and maybe most dramatically, if there were ever a major conflict, Beijing might use that access to remotely shut down critical systems.”
Internet data speed in the 5G network will be many times faster than that in 4G. Today the data that takes several minutes to download will be downloaded in seconds in the 5G network.