The worries about potential Chinese backdoors into 5G networking equipment have spread to the European Union (EU), as officials have started considering new laws that would require businesses involved in building critical infrastructure to guarantee stricter security. Some EU officials and member states are also considering de facto bans of technology from Huawei and other Chinese companies.
According to Reuters, four "senior" EU officials are looking at proposals that would prevent Huawei tech from being used in next-generation mobile networks.
EU nations worry that the Chinese government could require Huawei or other Chinese companies to build backdoors into core communications technologies, such as its 5G networking equipment. This worry has been exacerbated by China passing laws that allows its authorities to mandate backdoors in products developed in China and the recent accusations from the U.S. government that China is using Huawei’s products for industrial espionage.
The German government is supposedly considering whether or not to ban Huawei and other Chinese companies from the development of telecom equipment within the country. The Czech Republic's government recently banned Huawei from a bid to build a national online system for filing tax returns.
Currently, members of the European Commission and other EU officials are considering several different proposals, ranging from an amendment to the 2016 cybersecurity legislation that would require more stringent security guarantees from companies developing critical infrastructure technology to a de facto ban within the EU.
Don't Count Huawei Out Yet
As Huawei has been challenging competitors by offering cheaper products, more countries have become reliant on Huawei’s technology. This is also why some EU wireless carriers are reluctant to give up on Huawei’s equipment, especially as they’re preparing their 5G network rollout.
Vodafone said that although it will replace Huawei from its core infrastructure, it will not replace the company’s technology in radio access networks. Deutsche Telekom, Europe’s biggest telecommunications company, said that if Huawei is banned in Europe, it would delay its deployment of 5G networks by up to two years.
Of course, EU officials will have to take into account the welfare of the whole EU population and the risk potential backdoors could pose to EU’s critical communications infrastructure, not just the profit and cost arguments of certain companies.