By Jack Stubbs and Cassell Bryan-Low
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain publicly chastised China’s Huawei Technologies for failing to fix long-standing security flaws in its mobile network equipment and revealed new “significant technical issues,” increasing pressure on the company as it battles Western allegations that Beijing could use its gear for spying.
In a report published on Thursday, the government-led board that oversees vetting of Huawei gear in Britain said continued problems with the company’s software development had brought “significantly increased risk to UK operators.”
The board – which includes officials from Britain’s GCHQ communications intelligence agency – said in the report that the company had made “no material progress” addressing security flaws and it didn’t have confidence in Huawei’s capacity to deliver on proposed measures to address “underlying defects.”
The unusually direct criticism is a fresh blow to the world’s largest maker of mobile network equipment, which has been under intense scrutiny in recent months.
Officials in the United States and elsewhere have been increasingly public in voicing their concerns that Huawei’s equipment could be used by Beijing for spying or sabotage, particularly as operators move to the next generation of mobile networks, known as 5G.
Shenzhen-based Huawei said in a statement said it takes the oversight board’s concerns “very seriously” and that the issues identified in the report “provide vital input for the ongoing transformation of our software engineering capabilities”.
(Editing by Edmund Blair)