Does Huawei's 5G technology endanger security in Switzerland?

Does Huawei's 5G technology endanger security in Switzerland?

The expansion of 5G networks in Switzerland is making progress. Sunrise is using Huawei technology, although countries such as the USA have issued massive warnings against the possible misuse of Chinese technology for espionage purposes. Is Switzerland's security at risk because of the 5G technology from China?


Information for China's Communist Party?
At the beginning of June 2019, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed a clear warning to the Swiss in the "NZZ": "If China offers information technology to you, you should be aware that the corresponding manufacturer is controlled by members of the Communist Party".

But that's not all. Pompeo becomes even clearer: "The Swiss attach great importance to the protection of their privacy, and have done so for a long time. But if you are operating with Chinese technology, you are handing over your information to the Communist Party of China.

The Vice President of Huawei Switzerland commented on the statements made by the US Secretary of State to the newspaper "Le Temps": "The American attacks are absurd and unfounded.

Sunrise, too, has repeatedly stressed that there is no evidence of espionage over the Huawei infrastructure, as the "Handelszeitung" writes.

William R. Evanina, director at the US National Counterintelligence and Security Center, explains the proximity of companies to the Chinese government in The New York Times: "China's national intelligence law of 2017 requires Chinese companies to promote, support and collaborate with China's national intelligence work wherever they operate.

Moreover, according to the China Institute Merics, Huawei's question is not whether there are back doors in the networks, but whether such access is used for espionage or interference in national politics, as the newspaper "Der Standard" reports.


Neighbouring country Germany becomes more sceptical
Doubts about the distance of Huaweis to the Chinese government are not only heard from the USA. In Germany, too, calls for the exclusion of Huawei from the 5G infrastructure are becoming louder. Deutsche Telekom even intends to replace Huawei technology in sensitive areas of the existing telecom network with the technology of other companies.

Meanwhile, Huawei is trying to counter the mistrust in the Western world with a new strategy. The Globe and Mail" reports that production facilities of the Chinese telecommunications group are to be set up in Europe in order to take away the fear of Huawei hardware being misused for espionage from the circles concerned. The newspaper received this information in an interview with the founder of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei.

But even if no espionage is carried out via Huawei's 5G network, Switzerland could still make itself vulnerable to some blackmail if the Swiss Confederation were to rely exclusively on Huawei to expand the 5G network. There is some discussion as to whether the Chinese government could switch off a 5G network via a possibly existing kill switch in Huawei's network technology.

However, since Swisscom and Salt are not expanding their 5G networks with Huawei technology, but with the help of technology from Ericsson and Nokia, a failure of the Sunrise network due to a possible kill switch being operated by the Chinese government would not interrupt 5G connections throughout Switzerland. Any dangers that could emanate from the Sunrise 5G network due to the Huawei technology installed are therefore manageable.


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