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Should the Netherlands ban Huawei from the construction of 5G?

For fear of espionage, perhaps even sabotage, more and more Western countries are turning against Huawei in the construction of 5G networks. The Netherlands is yet undecided. Concerns are justified, but we must pay attention to all manufacturers, from all countries’, says Frank Groenewegen, Chief Security Expert of Fox-IT, in De Volkskrant.It is important that we look at how we can independently investigate and test the security and control of this technology ourselves and then take any additional measures that may be necessary.’

The US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan are all refusing Huawei and the Chinese company ZTE the construction of new 5G networks. Belgium initiated an investigation, Norway is considering a 5G boycott, British Telecom decided to remove Huawei from the essential parts of its existing 4G network. In each case, the main fear is that Huawei and ZTE will be able to intercept networks via their own equipment. Think of monitoring calls or internet traffic, adjusting them or even sabotaging. Technically, this would be possible.

Fox-IT: ‘It is important that we can independently investigate and test security and control – and take measures if necessary’.

Despite all the suspicion, there is no hard evidence for espionage by Huawei, at 5G or any other network. Yet these concerns are justified, says Frank Groenewegen. The Chinese could eavesdrop on a network, sabotage it or even switch it off completely. But we have to pay attention to all manufacturers, from all countries. The possibility of retaining players such as Huawei, but keeping tight independent checks in the Netherlands on what equipment is coming in, should be considered. This already happens in the United Kingdom and Germany. It is important that we can independently investigate and test security – and take measures if necessary.

Frank Groenewegen

Chief Security Expert
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