Chinese telco seen as security threat
The Gillard government banned Huawei from any involvement in Australia's national broadband network. Photo: Bloomberg
CHINESE communications and technology giant Huawei has been branded a threat to United States national security.
The company was the subject of intense political debate in Australia earlier this year after it was barred from participating in the national broadband network on security grounds, a decision the opposition has said it would review.
In America, the chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, has warned that Huawei's products could open the door to spying, urging businesses to ''find another vendor if you care about your intellectual property, if you care about your consumers' privacy, and you care about national security''.
In March, it was revealed the Gillard government had banned Huawei from any involvement in Australia's $36 billion national broadband network.
The decision, based on advice from intelligence agency ASIO, sparked claims from the opposition that the government was jeopardising vital Chinese investment.
In August, the shadow minister for communications and broadband, Malcolm Turnbull, said a Coalition government would review the ban, noting that Huawei was being used in the national broadband rollout in Britain.
A spokesman for Mr Turnbull yesterday told The Sunday Age that the latest development had not changed his position, and the decision to exclude Huawei from the NBN would still be reviewed if the Coalition was elected.
Mr Rogers' intelligence committee tomorrow releases the results of a year-long investigation into the alleged security risk posed by Huawei and fellow Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon would not comment on Mr Rogers' claims. A spokesman said: ''We note the committee's work.''
Last month, former Victorian premier John Brumby, a board director of Huawei Australia, said he was hopeful the Chinese telco could participate in the NBN in the future, as this would convince other governments it was not a security risk. Mr Brumby did not return calls yesterday.
A spokesman for Huawei Australia said the company had not become the world's number-one telecommunications equipment provider without partners trusting their technology and staff.
''Those are the facts today and those will still be the facts next week, political agendas aside,'' he said.
The cyber-snooping claims were made by Mr Rogers during an interview with CBS News' 60 Minutes program, set to air today.
Mr Rogers and the committee's top Democrat, C. A. ''Dutch'' Ruppersberger, have been investigating whether expansion by the companies enables Chinese government spying and economic espionage.
Executives for Huawei and ZTE, both based in Shenzhen, China, denied links to espionage during an intelligence committee hearing last month, telling legislators they are not controlled by the Chinese government.