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Huawei networking kit gets the green light from Blighty's spooks

All above board, concludes board

By Simon Rockman

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A board put together to double-check the work of a British government team set up to investigate Huawei has given the Chinese giant a clean bill of health.

The Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) Oversight Board was established in early 2014 on the recommendation of the UK National Security Adviser.

The board is chaired by Ciaran Martin, DG for Cyber Security at GCHQ, and its deputy chair is Ryan Ding, executive director of the board and also president for products and solutions at Huawei.

Other members of the board are from GCHQ, the Cabinet Office, Vodafone, its friend BT, and the counter terrorism part of the Home Office.

The role of the Oversight Board is to oversee the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre and advise the National Security Adviser (to whom this report is formally submitted), allowing him to provide assurance to ministers, Parliament and ultimately the general public that the risks are being well managed.

The report itself (PDF) is mainly to say that the evaluation centre is properly run and doesn’t go into the details of what the centre does, what technology or threats are investigated.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “The Oversight Board concludes that in the year 2014 to 2015 HCSEC fulfilled its obligations to provide assurance that any risks to UK national security from Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s critical networks have been sufficiently mitigated.”

The Oversight Board’s role relates only to products that are relevant to UK national security risks, but the HCSEC, which is funded by Huawei, is free to hire its services out to other security agencies provided it gets its homework done first. ®

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