Cybersecurity Chiefs To Meet Amid Row Over Huawei Role In UK's 5G Network

It comes amid reports that May bypassed Cabinet concerns about security and working with the firm.

The UK is meeting with its cybersecurity allies to discuss threats, amid reports that Theresa May has given Chinese firm Huawei the green light to work on Britain’s new 5G network.

Representatives from the Five Eyes intelligence alliance – made up of Britain, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – have met in the UK for the first time.

The gathering is taking place at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) annual conference CYBERUK in Glasgow on Wednesday.

It comes amid reports that May bypassed Cabinet concerns about security and working with Huawei.

The Daily Telegraph reported the National Security Council, chaired by the prime minister, allowed Huawei limited access to build antennas and ‘noncore’ infrastructure for the network.

Digital Minister Margot James has tried to dampen down the reports.

She wrote in a tweet: “In spite of cabinet leaks to the contrary, final decision yet to be made on managing threats to telecoms infrastructure.”

The move, if confirmed, will likely to ruffle US feathers after they banned the firm from its networks and are putting pressure on other Five Eyes members to do the same.

Australia has said that it has “serious concerns over Huawei’s obligations to the Chinese government and the danger that poses to the integrity of telecommunications networks in the US and elsewhere”.

Huawei denies that it is controlled by the Chinese government, or that its work poses risk of espionage. The firm said it welcomed the UK’s “evidence based” approach.

The theme of CYBERUK 2019 is to develop good cyber security for the public and help to make the technology they buy more secure.

Around 2,500 security experts are expected to attend the conference.

Infographic supplied by Statista.
Infographic supplied by Statista.

NCSC chief executive Ciaran Martin said: “Cyber security is an international team sport and we are delighted to host allies from around the world in this public way to discuss how we best defend from common adversaries.

“Cyber attacks do not respect international boundaries and many of the threats and vulnerabilities we face are shared around the globe.

“Each nation has sovereignty to defend itself as it sees best fit but it’s vital that we work closely with our allies to make the world as safe as possible.”

Specialists from across government, industry and law enforcement will attend the two-day summit.

It will include speeches from GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming and Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “The UK is one of the leading cyber powers in the world – but this is a global threat that needs a global response.

“That’s why we are working closely with our allies across the globe to deter and tackle cyber threats, share information and respond in a coordinated way to impose a price on malicious cyber activity.

“I am delighted to see 2,500 cyber security experts at CYBERUK in Glasgow, working to make cyberspace free, open, peaceful and secure.”


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