Former Canadian security officials express concerns with government ties to Huawei

The news comes months after two U.S. carriers dropped Huawei devices from their line-ups

Chinese telecom manufacturer Huawei is once again coming under fire for its connection to the Chinese government.

Just months after two major U.S. carriers dropped support for Huawei, a March 19th, 2018 Globe and Mail report now quotes three former Canadian security officials — Ward Elcok, John Adams and Richard Fadden — who have all shared concerns about Canada’s involvement with Huawei.

Elcok served as the fourth director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) from 1994 to 2004.

John Adams served as chief of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) from July 2005 until January 2012.

“…I would not want to see Huawei equipment being incorporated into a 5G network in Canada.”

Richard Fadden served as the seventh director of CSIS from June 2009 to May 2013.

Elcock expressed concerns about Huawei equipment being used to establish 5G infrastructure in Canada.

“I have a pretty good idea of how signal-intelligence agencies work and the rules under which they work and their various operations and… I would not want to see Huawei equipment being incorporated into a 5G network in Canada,” said Elcock, in an interview with the Globe and Mail.

“It doesn’t surprise me that the Americans are concerned about Huawei…”

Adams told the Globe that he “would be very careful about getting engaged with Huawei.”

“It doesn’t surprise me that the Americans are concerned about Huawei and no doubt especially concerned about what they may be doing in 5G,” said Adams.

For his part, Fadden expressed concern that Canada is providing telecom access to a large Chinese company.

“I think Huawei is operating in an area of strategic interest to both Canada and China and I think it is a strategic interest area where you do not want to make available to a large Chinese company, with ties to the Chinese government, access to Canadian infrastructure,” said Fadden, in an interview with the Globe.

Response from Canadian public safety officials

According to a spokesperson from the Minister of Public Safety’s office, Canada’s federal government is “aware of the concerns and takes the security of its critical infrastructure very seriously.”

“While we cannot provide details on specific companies, products or providers, the Communications Security Establishment provides advice and guidance on information technology security to the Government of Canada, including equipment manufactures that are part of the Canadian supply chain,” said the same spokesperson, in an email to MobileSyrup. “CSE also shares security advice and guidance with the private sector owners and operators of Canada’s critical information infrastructures.‎”

MobileSyrup was also told that the government “works diligently to monitor for security threats and that there are measures… in place to protect Canada’s systems.”

Huawei emphasizes its cooperation with government

In an email statement to MobileSyrup, a Huawei spokesperson said that “since coming to Canada in 2008, Huawei has worked openly and transparently with Canadian operators and the Government of Canada without issue.”

“From the outset, Huawei has recognized and respects the critical importance of Canadian operators and the Canadian Government to protect the integrity of Canada’s telecommunications infrastructure,” said the same spokesperson to MobileSyrup.

“For this reason, all of Huawei Canada’s business and research operations are conducted in a manner that reflects the objectives of Government and Operators on a number of measurements, including national security.”

“The security of our networks is vitally important to us…”

National carriers Bell and Rogers both stock Huawei smartphones, and Huawei is currently conducting 5G trials with Telus.

“The security of our networks is vitally important to us, and we have a rigorous process in place when we assess any potential supplier as part of the ongoing work we do to ensure our networks are safe and secure,” said Rogers, in a statement to MobileSyrup.

According to a Bell spokesperson, Huawei is also a “long-standing supplier of network infrastructure.”

MobileSyrup has reached out to Telus for comment. This story will be updated with their response.

Source: Globe and Mail