Following the news that France will allow Chinese tech firms to bid for 5G contracts, Angela Merkel has defended her stance, but says that security standards for Germany’s 5G networks should be set much higher than previous networks. However, her view stands that individual Chinese vendors such as Huawei should not be banned “from the very start”.
Merkel said in a recent speech that, “I tend to trust ourselves to define high security standards, higher than with 4G, 3G and 2G, but not to shut out vendors from the beginning.”
Merkel has been under pressure from her own intelligence service to block Huawei from being involved with Germany’s 5G roll-out. And they have been warned about Huawei’s ties to the Chinese government, and the risk of leaking sensitive information.
But whilst Angela Merkel didn’t mention Huawei by name, she did say that banning individual companies would “isolate ourselves from entire areas”. This is certainly a concern for Germany’s tech development, and is something Merkel won’t want to risk.
“We have always stood for fair and free competition, and also fact-based competition, and not simply qualified it based on differing political systems,” Merkel said.
China faces further bans
Although Germany and France have remained open to Chinese tech firms, Spain’s Ministry of Defense is planning to ban Huawei from accessing any sensitive information. This motion will see Huawei devices banned from data servers – but Huawei devices are still allowed to be used by consumers.
Many countries feel obliged to ban Huawei, due to increasing pressure from the US to do so. Spain’s approach might be the best way moving forward; rather than outright banning Huawei, it will take steps to prevent it from accessing sensitive information.
Having said this, there has still been no proof that Huawei has been involved in relaying sensitive information to Chinese authorities, and following America’s lead appears to be the primary driver behind these decisions to disallow Chinese companies.
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