- Huawei is the world's largest telecom supplier.
- The US has banned Huawei from building the country's 5G network.
- The new 5G network is so open that large amounts of surveillance can happen.
What, exactly, is 5G technology? In rather non-technical terms, 5G is the fifth-generation wireless technology for digital cellular networks. It is the latest in wireless technology, and it is thought to be faster and more efficient at what it does than 4G. This fifth-generation has speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second, and as such, is about 100 times faster than 4G. So, essentially, it allows your smartphone to work at a much higher level than it already does, among other benefits.
Why have countries banned Huawei from building this technology then, if it is so great?
It all comes down to security concerns. The new 5G technology can transport enormous amounts of data, but with that new freedom comes a loose, unrestricted, and rather unprotected system. According to online sources, the security architecture of 5G has been adjusted to allow as much data as possible to be collected, essentially enabling a form of mass surveillance. Governments are concerned that if one foreign company constructs the 5G network in another country, a lot of spying could potentially go on.
Huawei is a Chinese multinational technology company. It produces and sells smartphones, consumer electronics, and telecommunications equipment. It is the world’s largest telecom supplier and the world’s second-largest phone manufacturer.
The company is also onboard to build next-generation 5G networks in many countries besides its own. These include places like the UK, where Huawei is building part of the new network but not the entire thing.
Other countries are actively banning Huawei from building their 5G network, in order to prevent China from being able to potentially spy on them. As of December 2019, these countries include the US, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Taiwan. Huawei is not allowed to build the 5G network in these countries, and the company’s products are being actively phased out. In places like the US, you can not even buy a Huawei cell phone, at least not easily. Huawei does not officially sell its devices in the country, and no carriers in the US are offering them.
In contrast, in Canada, you can purchase a Huawei phone, but the company is not being allowed to build the new national 5G network, at present.
In the European Union, members are being advised to limit their “high-risk” 5G vendors, but no one has stated outright that Huawei is banned from operating there.
Will China eventually take over the world via our communication networks?
China has a long history of exercising measures of social control over its own citizens. At present, the country’s government has developed a social credit system that assesses a citizen’s or business's economic reputation as well as its social reputation. People and businesses are then tracked and have their trustworthiness evaluated. If you are deemed to be untrustworthy, you risk being black listed and banned from such things as movie theaters, buses, schools, and perhaps even employment. Is this the future in other countries if Huawei builds a 5G system?