In short: The Canadian government uses many “layers” of security against the potential threat posed by Huawei’s telecommunications equipment, particularly the new hardware meant to allow for 5G connectivity, Canadian Centre for Cyber Security chief Scott Jones said earlier this week while speaking at a cybersecurity conference in Toronto. The claim was specifically aimed at alleviating concerns about Ottawa not barring Huawei from participating in its deployment of the fifth-generation of wireless networks, something that the United States and Australia already did and what South Korea is expected to do in the immediate future, all due to national security concerns. Mr. Jones also shifted the national cybersecurity conversation to a broader area during his keynote speech on Tuesday, stressing the importance of the software side of things; “If anyone here believes security is about a single piece of equipment, I have an e-mail from a Nigerian prince who is offering you millions,” he said lightheartedly.
Background: Over the last half a decade, the Canadian government has reportedly been testing Huawei-made telecom equipment for potential security threats, signaling that it shares some concerns with its allies about the company possibly posing an espionage risk due to its close ties to the Communist regime in China and the fact that Beijing could legally compel it to help it spy its customers with little issues and in a relatively short timeframe. Huawei has been having issues with the U.S. in particular for well over a decade, having faced criticism and scrutiny from both Washington and American companies. The tech giant remains adamant all concerns about its equipment are baseless propaganda aimed at preventing it to compete with its Western rivals.
Impact: Despite being the world’s largest telecom equipment maker, Huawei may not have a large 5G footprint in the West due to renewed concerns about how prone its operations are to government interference. Coupled with the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China that deteriorated the relationship between the world’s two largest economies to a record low in the 21st century, it appears unlikely Huawei’s stateside telecom ambitions will amount to much anytime soon.
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