UK concludes using Huawei in 5G is a manageable risk, report says

That goes against US efforts to persuade European allies to ban the Chinese supplier from 5G efforts due to espionage concerns.

Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers wrote and edited CNET News stories from 2005 to 2020 and is now a contributor to CNET.
Michelle Meyers
2 min read

The British government has reportedly concluded that any risks from the use of Huawei equipment in its 5G networks can be mitigated.

That determination was made by the UK's National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), according to a Financial Times report Sunday citing two unnamed sources familiar the conclusion, which hasn't been made public.

"As was made clear in July's HCSEC oversight board, the NCSC has concerns around Huawei's engineering and security capabilities," an NCSC spokesperson said. "We have set out the improvements we expect the company to make."

"Our review of the right policy approach to 5G security and resilience is still ongoing," a spokesperson for Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday. "The review is looking at a range of options and no decisions have been taken."

The conclusion runs contrary to US State Department efforts to discourage European countries preparing for the rollout of 5G -- the high-speed, next-generation networking technology -- from using equipment made by the Chinese tech company. US officials have reportedly met with representatives of the European Commission to warn them that the Chinese government could use Huawei equipment for spying.

That warning followed escalating tensions between the US and Huawei that have seen the arrest of the company's CFO in and 23 indictments thrust on the company by the United States. Preceding this was a year of warnings from the US against Huawei, for fear of the company's coziness with the Chinese government, which raised concerns over espionage.

Originally published 2/17 at 1:09 p.m. PT
Updated 2/18 at 10:15 a.m. with NCSC statement.
Updated 2/18 at 10:57 a.m. with statement from prime minister's office.