Boris Johnson is facing rebellion in the commons over his decision to allow Huawei a role in developing the UK’s 5G network. The opposition have today called for a ban on high risk venders being allowed to play a role in the development of our technology infrastructure.
Major General Jonathon Shaw, the former head of cybersecurity at GCHQ said. “It’s the whole realisation that cyberspace is fundamentally insecure, and since China have been labelled an enemy and want to steal our secrets, the argument is whether we want Huawei – a Chinese company – in our systems. The problem of course is that Huawei have been in our system since 2005, but there is a real concern whether we are increasing the risk to our security unnecessarily.”
He goes onto explain that there is a balance that needs to be struck between wanting to have the latest technology and infrastructure in the UK and allowing a certain amount of risk by having China in our system or having to delay progress by five years or more. GCHQ say they can manage the risk as they have been doing since 2005, and their American counterparts are saying that they have been sharing intelligence with Britain anyway.
We are now reaping the whirlwind of 20 years of having a globalised supply chain and, if we are worried about the Chinese, the Chinese should be worried about us too, as we are all integrated into each other’s systems anyway, and their cybersecurity issues are far worse than ours are.
So, if Huawei are already integrated into our systems infrastructure, why the sudden sensitivity over the introduction of 5G? Well, what we all need to understand is that there is going to be a dramatic change in the way that objects relate and communicate with each other as they join the IoT (internet of things), and they are really going to take off with 5G. Suddenly, we are going to find objects that are going to be communicating with each other at quite an alarming rate that none of us can fully anticipate, and it is that extensive penetration into everybody’s daily lives that will make cybersecurity all the more important.
The Government won a narrow victory over the rebels in the Commons by just 24 votes.