US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stated that he considers Huawei’s 5G infrastructure to be no less dangerous than similar technology developed in the USSR.
In a speech at a gathering of the Commonwealth Club of California, a non-profit educational organization, on Monday, Pompeo claimed that as far as 5G mobile network is concerned, “we see so many countries that are completely unprepared for what installing 5G technology in their nationwide systems will do for their security”.
He pointed the finger at the EU countries for allegedly allowing their citizens’ private information “to transit across Chinese infrastructure”.
“And I remind them – and this is an imperfect analogy, and I’m deeply aware of that – but none of us would have installed Soviet technology. Right? We would have never allowed our private citizens to go – to work across that”, he said.
Pompeo also argued that it is 5G technology that will help the Chinese Communist Party obtain access to private information
“How they’ll get it, when they’ll get it, how much of it they’ll decide to have access to, we can all debate. But make no mistake about it, they’ll have the capacity to get at this deeply personal information”, he asserted.
The statement comes after the US House Representatives passed legislation in mid-December prohibiting the use of governmental funds to buy communications equipment from companies, including Huawei, that are “posing national security risks” to American networks.
“Companies like Huawei and its affiliates pose a significant threat to America’s commercial and security interests because a lot of communications providers rely heavily on their equipment”, the lawmakers said.
US Crackdown on Huawei
In a separate development last month, the House passed the National Defence Authorisation Act for 2020, which specifically includes measures against Huawei, severely limiting the US Commerce Secretary’s ability to remove the Chinese tech giant from the so-called Entities List.
The blacklisting, that was announced by the Department of Commerce last May, marked the beginning of the US’ crackdown on Huawei, which stipulated the banning of the company’s equipment from being supplied to the US.
Washington also severely limited US companies' ability to sell software and components to the Chinese tech giant, requiring them to get special permissions to do so.
The US justified the move by accusing the company of leaving backdoors in its products to enable surveillance by the Chinese government, allegations that both Beijing and Huawei reject.
Even so, Washington refuses to cooperate with Huawei in the construction of its 5G networks, urging all of its allies to follow suit. While some countries, including Germany and France, have rejected Washington's calls, Japan, New Zealand and Australia have bowed to US pressure and barred the tech giant from taking part in the development of their 5G infrastructure.