With his final decision on allowing Huawei’s involvement in the UK 5G networks expected as soon as tomorrow, Boris Johnson is still sitting on the fence.
At a Prime Ministerial event at King’s College London mathematics school, BoJo granted the beeb a short interview in which he was asked about Huawei. His government is expected to finally make a call tomorrow on whether or not, and to what extent, to ban UK network operators from including Huawei gear in their 5G networks.
“The way forward for us, clearly, is to have a system that delivers for people in this country, the kind of consumer benefits they want, through 5G technology or whatever, but does not in any way compromise our critical national infrastructure, our security, or jeopardise our ability to work together with other intelligence powers around the world,” said BoJo. “So the Five Eyes security relationships we have, we’ve got to keep them strong and safe.
“We’re going to come up with a solution that enables us to achieve both of those objectives, and that’s the way forward. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have technological progress here in the UK, allow consumers and businesses in the UK to have access to fantastic technology, fantastic communications, but also protect our security interests and protect our key partnerships with other security powers.”
In other words we’re not going to constrain the market but we’re going to make sure we’re safe and we’re not going to upset the Americans. Maybe such a thing is possible, but with the US adopting such a zero-tolerance approach to Huawei it’s hard to see how we could keep them happy without a total Huawei ban.
As if further evidence of the intensely political nature of this decision was needed, good old Tom Tugendhat was banging on about it once more in the house of commons today, with what he presumably considered a rakish metaphorical flourish. Meanwhile much of the mainstream media are busy displaying such ignorance on telecoms matters that the mere act of ignoring them usually provides positive educational benefit to the discerning punter.
“Allowing the fox into the hen house when really we should be guarding the wire”
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) January 27, 2020
In 2011, Huawei offered to install free WiFi equipment on the London Underground. The advice from security officials was to reject the offer. And that was for 3G, not the pervasive and game-changing 5G that will connect everything with everything.
— Nick Timothy (@NJ_Timothy) January 27, 2020