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Technology / Cybersecurity

UK to investigate Huawei’s Oxfordshire cybersecurity centre

The UK government has said that it will investigate the operations of Chinese telecom firm Huawei’s cybersecurity centre in Banbury, Oxfordshire over security concerns.

The move from the government follows concerns raised by the UK’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) that the Chinese firm’s equipment might be used by Beijing to spy on the UK.

In its report, ISC revealed a number of weaknesses in the country’s approach to investment in the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI), citing China’s Huawei Technologies deal with BT.

The UK government said its duty to protect the safety and security of its citizens should not be compromised by fears of financial consequences, or lack of appropriate protocols.

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"However, a lack of clarity around procedures, responsibility and powers means that national security issues have risked, and continue to risk, being overlooked," the government said.

Huawei established the cybersecurity centre, known as the Cell, in Banbury in 2010.

According to the UK government, the BT/Huawei relationship began nearly ten years ago and the process for considering national security issues at that time was insufficiently robust.

"The Committee was shocked that officials chose not to inform, let alone consult, Ministers on such an issue," the government said

"Given these delays and the lack of evidence so far that it will be able to provide the level of security assurance required, we recommend that the National Security Adviser conducts a substantive review of the effectiveness of the Cell as a matter of urgency."

Last year, Huawei revealed plans to invest $2bn in the UK over the next five years and increase its workforce to over 1,500 by 2017.
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CBR Staff Writer

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