Countries Seek United 5G Security Approach Amid Huawei Concerns

(Bloomberg) -- Security officials from 30 countries hammered out a common approach to wireless network safety on Friday, responding to concerns over equipment made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co.

The non-binding proposal warns governments against relying on suppliers of fifth-generation networks that could be susceptible to state influence or based in countries that haven’t signed international agreements on cyber security and data protection.

“The customer -- whether the government, operator, or manufacturer -- must be able to be informed about the origin and pedigree of components and software that affect the security level of the product or service,” read the Prague Proposal document handed out at the end of the conference in the Czech capital.

President Donald Trump’s administration applauded adoption of the document.

“The United States supports the resulting Prague Proposals on 5G security published by the Czech conference chairman as a set of recommendations for nations to consider as they design, construct, and administer their 5G infrastructure,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement on Friday. “The United States government plans to use the Prague Proposals as a guide to ensure our shared prosperity and security.”

Representatives from the European Union, the NATO military alliance and Asian countries including Japan and Korea attended the meeting.

Unified action could help governments facing a difficult balancing act with Huawei. The U.S. is urging them to ban the vendor from 5G networks, arguing its systems are vulnerable to Chinese state espionage. Doing so risks delaying network rollouts and drawing reprisals from Beijing, an important investment partner for many of the countries.

Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s billionaire founder, has dismissed accusations that the company aids the Chinese government in espionage.

EU governments are due to submit national risk assessments for 5G networks in mid-July.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.