Australia bans Chinese tech companies providing 5G infrastructure

The Australian government has banned Chinese smartphone companies Huawei and ZTE from providing 5G technology, Huawei says.

Neither Huawei nor the Australian government has provided an explanation for the purported ban, but several governments have already raised national security concerns over relying on some of China’s biggest companies for major infrastructure.

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Global trend?

  • In 2012, the U.S. Government’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence cited concerns that the products could be used to conduct espionage on American citizens.
  • In March 2018, the FBI officially warned U.S. consumers to not purchase anything from Huawei on national security grounds. The announcement also included ZTE, another major Chinese phone maker.
  • On July 19, the UK government released a report finding “shortcomings” in the company’s processes had exposed UK telecoms networks to new risks.
  • At the start of August, the U.S. Democratic National Committee’s chief security officer warned party candidates and their staff against using ZTE and Huawei hardware, as reported by Reuters.
  • Earlier this month, the US banned government employees, as well as contractors, from using devices manufactured by ZTE or Huawei that manage user data.

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Grounds for concern?

  • In the face of these suspicions, Huawei and ZTE both insist they are entirely independent of the Chinese government.

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