30 Nations Pitch Internet Security Rules Amid Huawei Concern

Cybersecurity officials from dozens of countries on Friday proposed a set of principles to ensure the safety of next generation mobile networks amid concerns over the use of gear made by China’s Huawei.

The non-binding proposals were published at the end of a two-day meeting in Prague to discuss the security of new 5G networks.

The U.S. has been lobbying allies to ban Huawei from 5G networks over concerns China’s government could force the company to give it access to data for cyberespionage. Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecom infrastructure equipment, has denied the allegations.

The proposals reflected security concerns, with some wording that also appeared to be aimed at raising the bar for Chinese suppliers. The document said “security and risk assessment of vendors and network technologies” should be taken into account, as well as “the overall risk of influence on a supplier by a third country,” especially its “model of governance.”

“Security and risk assessments of vendors and network technologies should take into account rule of law,” it said.

U.S. officials have urged their allies to take into account the laws and legal system of a country where a 5G supplier is based, saying that China’s lack of independent judiciary means companies have no legal options if they don’t want to comply with Beijing’s orders.

The European Commission has also recommended that EU countries factor in the legal systems of the countries where 5G suppliers are headquartered.

At the meeting in Prague, the cybersecurity officials came mainly from countries that are strategic allies, including European Union member states, the United States and its Asia-Pacific allies including Australia, Japan and South Korea and Singapore. NATO and European Union officials also participated but China and Russia were not present.

Europe has become a key battleground in the war over whether to ban Huawei, with countries gearing up to deploy the new networks, starting with the auction of radio frequencies this year.

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