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Huawei says US stance is 'protectionism'

Australian Chair says security debate “distorted” by trade war

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The Chairman of Huawei's Australian operations, John Lord, has proposed the nation create a national “cyber security evaluation centre” at which “all equipment implemented into major or critical Australian networks can be subjected to the same thorough security assessment.”

Lord said such a centre would mirror the UK's Cyber Security Evaluation Centre.

Lord floated the idea during a speech to Australia's National Press Club, a forum often used by politicians and other significant figures to announce big ideas or flesh out their thinking.

Lord's speech called for debate on security in Australia to stay “sober” as “If we are to find real solutions to real cyber-security problems, we cannot allow the discussion to be muddied by issues like the ongoing trade conflict between the US and China.”

That conflict, Lord said, means the recent US House of Representatives committee report that damned Huawei “... must be called for what it really is: protectionism, not security.”

Lord went on to say the committee's report is a geopolitical stunt, with the transcript of his speech offering the following:

“The fiery rhetoric of the U.S. Committee’s report may make good headline-fodder in an election year, but it should really be seen as a missed opportunity. It missed the opportunity to address the real issues at stake, to increase awareness of the common threats we face, and to develop methods of countering these threats in a realistic way. When all telecoms equipment is produced by an interdependent global supply chain, simply blacklisting a single vendor or country will not make critical infrastructure more secure.”

Huawei's proposal, in Australia at least, is a testing centre at which it will happily “offer complete and unrestricted access to our software source code and equipment” and at which Lord hopes “in the interests of national security we believe all other vendors should be subject to the same high standard of transparency.”

Lord added that he imagines the centre “could be funded by vendors themselves and operated or overseen by security-cleared Australian nationals with complete transparency of all equipment.”

Huawei will, also Lord added, “support and adopt any internationally agreed standard or best practice for cyber security in its broadest sense; we will support any research effort to improve cyber defences; we will continue to improve and adopt an open and transparent approach enabling governments to review Huawei’s security capabilities, and finally, as we have done to date, we warmly welcome the assistance from our customers in enhancing our processes, our technology, and our approach to cyber security ...”. ®

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