Australian Government Bans Huawei And ZTE From 5G

Image: Tegan Jones/Gizmodo Australia

Today it was announced that Huawei and ZTE will be banned from supplying 5G technology to Australia. This comes after months of discussions and investigation regarding the inclusions of Chinese vendors in 5G networks — including Huawei rejecting the claim that it would be a security risk back in June.

An announcement regarding security guidance for 5G carriers was jointly made by Senator Mitch Fifield and acting Minister for Home Affairs Scott Morrison this morning.

Neither Chinese vendor was mentioned in the media release, but it did state that "The Government considers that the involvement of vendors who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law, may risk failure by the carrier to adequately protect a 5G network from unauthorised access or interference."

This may be in reference to the lack of independent judiciary in China, as well as its National Intelligence Law. Enacted in 2017, it allows the monitoring and investigation of individuals and institutions both in China and abroad.

The statement also focused on 5G networks being more susceptible to attacks than previous generations.

"Traditionally, network equipment used by telecommunications operators has been categorised into the ‘core’ network and the ‘edge’ network. The core network is where the more sensitive functions occur including access control, authentication, voice and data routing, and billing.

"The edge consists of the radios and other equipment used to connect customer equipment (such as handsets, laptops and tablets) to the core network.

"Where previous mobile networks featured clear functional divisions between the core and the edge, 5G is designed so that sensitive functions currently performed in the physically and logically separated core will gradually move closer to the edge of the network."

Despite not being mentioned by name, the vendors seemed to have been informed of the decision today.

This isn't the first time that the Federal Government has roadblocked Huawei. The company has also been prevented from getting involved in the NBN back in 2012.

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