The Chinese telecoms giant battling claims it poses a security risk has said it has not been contacted by the Irish agency conducting a security review of proposed 5G systems. Huawei Ireland told the Irish Examiner that it awaited the “fact-based findings” of the review.
The National Cyber Security Centre, along with the Department of Communications and communications regulator ComReg, is conducting an examination of “security risks” attached to the establishment of 5G networks in Ireland.
The Government set up the review last April following a request from the European Commission in March for such an audit. The call from the commission — which was made to the 11 member states, including Ireland, that are preparing to auction 5G licences this year — came on the back of pressure on the EU from the US to boycott Huawei.
US authorities have claimed that the Chinese state could use Huawei’s equipment for espionage — allegations strongly rejected by the tech firm. In May, US President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning US companies from trading with Huawei, leading to a decision by Google to withdraw its Android support for Huawei phones.
This week, President Trump signalled an apparent easing of the trade ban, but it is not clear what the impact of this will be. The security reviews by the EU states are reportedly due to be sent to the commission by the end of June, leading to a union-wide assessment by October.
EU countries are expected to use this assessment to introduce measures to mitigate security risks by the end of the year. In a statement to this paper, Huawei said it had established “ongoing constructive relationships” with the Department of Communications and ComReg. It added that the Irish Government and the IDA had been “very supportive” over its 15 years in Ireland.
Regarding the security review, it said: “Huawei has had no active part in, nor been in contact with, the National Cybersecurity Centre regarding its audit of Ireland’s communication networks and 5G.”
It added: “We await the fact-based findings of this audit in due course.”
Asked whether the review had contacted Huawei, the Department of Communications said: “It would not be appropriate for the Department to comment on any specific commercial and/or operational matters in relation to individual companies.”
It said: “The Department in conjunction with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and ComReg had been working on a review of the full spectrum of cybersecurity risks affecting 5G systems since late 2018. This will inform and contribute towards the upcoming National Cyber Security Strategy and the Connectivity Strategy.”
It said that last March, the EU Commission published recommendations setting out concrete actions to assess cybersecurity risk to 5G networks.