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Important to block ‘high-risk’ vendors like Huawei from 5G infrastructure, says Australia’s cyber affairs ambassador

Screenshot from ORF event on international 5G conflict.
Screenshot from ORF event on international 5G conflict.

Should all countries ban Chinese tech from their respective 5G infrastructure? Does Chinese 5G tech really pose threats to the national security of other countries? Panelists speaking at an event at CyFy, an annual cybersecurity conference organised by think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF), seemed to agree on both these questions. Tobias Feakin, Australia's Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology, felt that it was imperative of countries to block "high-risk" vendors such as Huawei from working on their 5G infrastructure, in spite of an initial increase in costs. He said that countries can't work with a companies they don't have any "faith" in. Izabel Albrycht, chair of the Poland-based NGO Koscciuszko Institute, signalled that "like-minded" countries — democracies — such as the US, EU-NATO countries would do well to prevent companies like Huawei from snooping in their jurisdictions. It is in these countries' best interests to address their dependence on Huawei and other Chinese telecom companies, she felt. Meanwhile, Cuihong Cai, professor, Center for American Studies, Fudan University was the sole Chinese participant in the panel, who defended Huawei, noting that there is no evidence to suggest that the company is indeed working hand-in-glove with Chinese intelligence. Cuihong also claimed that the international pressure on Chinese "high-tech" is leading to domestic innovation. A bit of background: Chinese tech companies have been under immense pressure all over the world due to suspicions of their working with the Chinese intelligence and military. The US has designated Chinese telecom giants Huawei and…

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