The fact that the American government under Donald Trump does not trust the Chinese a meter over the way, is no longer a secret. The latest evidence of this is a report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that Washington called on allied states not to use telecommunications technology from Huawei. Huawei is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of smartphones with Samsung and Apple.
According to insiders, American government officials have warned their counterparts from friendly countries, which are already using Huawei technology, of cybersecurity risks – including Germany, Italy and Japan. In addition, grants for countries that are renouncing Chinese technology while expanding their telecommunications sector are under discussion.
As the WSJ further reports, Americans are particularly concerned about the use of Chinese telecommunications technology, where there are American military bases. It is true that the US Department of Defense has its own satellites and networks for transmitting sensitive information. But most communications in most military bases are on commercial networks.
A technological Cold War?
Accordingly, America fears that Chinese companies could be forced by Beijing to espionage. The WSJ quotes a government official who points to the complexity of 5G networks and warns countries that are pushing their expansion against cyberattacks.
5G is the latest standard in mobile communications and promises super-fast networks for future Internet-based applications such as autonomous driving. In Germany, the 5G licenses will be auctioned in the spring.
The WSJ sees the unusual push by the Americans as further evidence that Huawei should be kept out of the country at all costs. Some government officials even went one step further: for them, the measure was part of a technological Cold War between America and its allies on the one hand and China on the other hand, a world that is increasingly digitally networked – and thus more vulnerable to Surveillance and espionage.
In America, Huawei is already largely excluded from supplying government agencies and their contractors. The United States has repeatedly targeted technology companies in the People’s Republic of China, including Huawei’s rival ZTE, in its trade dispute with China.
Western intelligence agencies are investigating the contacts of the world’s largest telecom equipment supplier Huawei with the Chinese leadership, as well as the suspicion that the Group’s technology and devices could be used for espionage. In summer, Huawei banned a stake in building the network for the new 5G mobile communications standard with reference to security risks.
In Germany, Huawei has locations in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Dusseldorf, as well as innovation and research centers in Nuremberg and Darmstadt.