Serious concerns have emerged within the government that data of Indian citizens and enterprises could be compromised and accessed by the Chinese establishment if Huawei is allowed to participate in 5G network deployment, according to a top official source.
The development, which comes in the backdrop of Huawei being banned by the US over security and espionage concerns, could also mean that the Chinese company may not be part of the 5G trials that India will undertake shortly. “The threats are real when it comes to allowing Huawei network in 5G,” the source told TOI, on condition of anonymity.
The view comes even as an official committee is looking at Huawei’s bid to participate in India’s upcoming 5G telecom auctions. This committee — formed a few weeks ago — is headed by the principal scientific adviser, and has senior officials from the intelligence bureau, external affairs ministry, home ministry, IT and telecom ministries, and the cyber security wing.
When contacted, Huawei India CEO Jay Chen said the company is in compliance with all rules and regulations. “We have given a full commitment regarding compliance to data security. In fact, all the data that Huawei India handles is stored locally,” Chen told TOI.
He said the stand has also been reiterated by the Chinese government, which has made it clear that it does not demand any information from the company. “We have made our position very clear in our discussions with the government.”
The source said threats regarding Huawei’s 5G network cannot be passed off as mere suspicions.
The source also said 5G “being a more pervasive technology” will have greater interaction with devices, individuals, and businesses, making the threat around security and data leakage more serious. “We need to remember that the fundamental nature of network changes with 5G. It is 100 times more pervasive than 4G… you can imagine what is the kind of security threat it may pose.”―Times of India