Politicians and Dutch intelligence services are very concerned about the fact that the updated C2000 communication system for emergency response services in our country is being supplied by a German subsidiary of a Chinese company, Hytera Communications. The fear of sabotage and espionage is very real.
Kathalijne Buitenweg, Dutch MP for GroenLinks (the Green Party) in the Lower House of Parliament, said in NOS News on 22 November 2018: “Critical infrastructure, which is vitally important to our national security, should not be developed using Chinese software, because it is a known fact, as the General Intelligence and Security Service have confirmed, that active Chinese espionage is taking place in the Netherlands.” Previously, the Ministry of Justice and Security opted to prohibit use of Russian-made Kaspersky anti-virus software by government agencies due to the cyber risks.
Fox-IT: “Europe has the next move”
Frank Groenewegen, Chief Security Expert at Fox-IT, told NOS News that the Chinese have significant technological superiority compared to Europe. “I think that it’s important for companies on the European market to build a strong position in the field of communication software like C2000. That essentially means that they should already start developing this type of technology now, so we become less dependent.”
Ferd Grapperhaus, Minister of Justice and Security, acknowledged the concerns and noted that two avenues are currently being explored: one investigation that takes a critical look at the technical aspects of the new C2000 system, and another that examines the parties supplying the system. In his opinion, the fact that a Chinese company is behind the software is not suspicious by definition: “In the context of international trade, it would be very odd to say that we will no longer do business with one specific country.”
The results of the investigations are expected to be presented in early 2019.