Germany all but says “Nein!” to Huawei

New IT security law proposed by Angela Merkel’s cabinet gives the country’s security authority more power to exclude suppliers it deems posing threat to Germany’s critical information systems.

For a long time, the German government, in particular the Chancellor herself, has been trying to strike a balance between American pressure to ban Huawei on security ground and its concern to antagonise China, one of its most important export markets. That balance looks to have finally come about in the shape of the new security law.

Dubbed “IT Security Act 2.0” (“Zweite Gesetz zur Erhöhung der Sicherheit informationstechnischer Systeme”, or “IT-Sicherheitsgesetz 2.0“), the new law would give the Federal Office for Information Security (“Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik”, or BSI) significantly more power than before to vet vendors for Germany’s critical information systems, which include cellular networks, networks used by the utilities, hospitals, and transport, as well as networks of the federal government.

Unlike a few other European countries, like the UK or Sweden, the new law, which still needs to be passed by the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, does not explicitly ban Chinese vendors like Huawei. However, the bar is raised if Huawei or other Chinese vendors are to be allowed to build those critical information systems in Germany, including 5G networks.

According to reporting by Süddeutsche Zeitung, a Munich-based broadsheet and one of Germany’s largest daily newspapers, there will be a two-layer security vetting process on vendors and equipment.

Information network operators should inform BSI in advance the critical equipment they plan to use. BSI will conduct the security examination of the equipment and components on technical level. If they suspect a security risk, a political examination will be carried out on the manufacturer’s reliability. The Federal Chancellery will have the ultimate decision-making power.

It is the second layer of examination that will raise the barrier against Huawei, as all Chinese companies are legally bound to co-operate with the country’s intelligence agencies. Some suggested the bar is too high for Huawei to play any meaningful role in Germany’s future information network construction. “Obviously a lot depends on how it is applied, but the crucial thing is that it gives us the ability to exclude Huawei. Now it all depends on whether the political will is there to do it,” said Nils Schmid, a Social Democrats MP, quoted in the Financial Times.

The new barrier could pose a problem for Deutsche Telekom, the country’s biggest telecom operator, which has relied heavily on Huawei’s equipment. IT Security Act 2.0 does not specify if on-network equipment should be removed if it is found insecure, though it does require operators of critical infrastructures to store network data for four years, so that cyber-attacks can be retrospectively tracked even if they are not detected immediately.

Meanwhile, Huawei’s spokesman told Reuters that the company welcomed the new law. “For the 5G networks this means that there are higher and equal security standards for all suppliers.” This echoes the company’s position when a similar security law was passed in Finland recently.

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  1. Avatar Alvaro 17/12/2020 @ 10:50 pm

    Europe should build their network based on their security regulations and trust suppliers. Regarding Security and Trust the Chinese have build their strong untrust and unreliable reputation

    • Avatar Terry 18/12/2020 @ 9:06 am

      Indeed. The difficulties lied in globalisation which has shaped our recent world. Awful lot of economies are linked to it. There are good reasons as already, on using existing systems even though there might be compromises, because they are already there, like many other technologies.

  2. Avatar Veddah 17/12/2020 @ 11:24 pm

    Huawei is worker owned, innovative and all 93,000 workers have benefitted. Capitalist Germany is not going to support Huawei

  3. Avatar Robin M E Hurley 18/12/2020 @ 4:12 am

    My impression was that the problem was Huawei was 100% owned and under the influence of the Chinese government.

    And we can see what is happening in Hong Kong!

    • Avatar Terry 18/12/2020 @ 9:22 am

      Facebook and Google etc are manipulated by politics and has sabotaged, destroyed many countries in the world, whereas China helps to build and lift poverty around the world until the cowboys are jealous and keep on wrecking any countries involved.

      • Avatar Yin Lang 18/12/2020 @ 9:57 am

        Not sure that is true. China is an aggressor against it’s own muslim citizens, people who don’t tow the political line are jailed even if they have clearly not broken any known laws. They are jailed it coerced into submission by threats. Remember Hong Kong, muslim suppression, and even billionaires, journalist’s are jailed based on party’s whim. China is also an aggressor against all of it’s neighbors, except Pakistan – a country that sold it’s own land to China.

      • Avatar Guillaume 20/12/2020 @ 12:14 pm

        Sure sure China also “helps to build and lift poverty” for the Uyghurs too.
        I’m certain they are praising China for interning them in what are basically concentration camps.

  4. Avatar Elias Phiniotis 18/12/2020 @ 4:45 am

    Under the law Everybody is innocent until proven guilty ! Pressure from one capitalist to exclude another from the market is the end of capitalism !

    • Avatar Happiman 18/12/2020 @ 6:45 am

      Totalitarian communism has been proven fake, evil and enemy of people. And the mixture of rotten Chinese culture, CCP is delivering virus to all over the world. Remember it’s the criminal organization abuse the phrase “Everybody is innocent until proven guilty”

      • Avatar Terry 18/12/2020 @ 9:08 am

        So as other superpowers

  5. Avatar Seggy 18/12/2020 @ 7:03 am

    The west is just jealous of the rise of China, that’s all. China cannot be stopped!

    • Avatar Terry 18/12/2020 @ 9:10 am

      Indeed. Any other 5Gs are bound to have Chinese patents in it. Advanced technologies should be welcomed.

  6. Avatar Ventsislav Kartselski 18/12/2020 @ 7:50 am

    Capitalism values are gone. Nobody ever prove something wrong with Huawei. Not long ago us was listening Merkel Phone excuse was,, anti terorist messure,,

    • Avatar Terry 18/12/2020 @ 9:13 am

      Exactly. The big trouble is the Double Standard. It brought about because ones who have big guns, and big mouth.

  7. Avatar B 18/12/2020 @ 9:21 am

    Huawei has undergone a similar procedure in the UK. GCHQ has found several glitches in its code, and, after they were rectified, it concluded that Huawei doesn’t pose a security threat. Then the US got involved and backbenchers rioted, so Huawei got banned.
    Will the German security services come to the same conclusion as GCHQ, remains to be seen. Huawei in each country is a legal entity that has to comply with laws and regulations, same like any other company.

    • Avatar Terry 18/12/2020 @ 9:26 am

      Indeed. Hope Chinese foods and medicines aren’t banned next.

      • Avatar Name 18/12/2020 @ 11:09 am

        Yes, i hope so too, their medical companies are great and also food manufacturers after the deal in the back alley is done.

        • Avatar Terry 18/12/2020 @ 1:24 pm

          Indeed. There are so much narrow minded and racial hatre tried to split this world, self admitting loosers.

          • Avatar Name 19/12/2020 @ 5:43 am

            It was actual irony if you didn’t catch it lol

  8. Avatar Terry 18/12/2020 @ 9:39 am

    China will keep on shaping the world no matter how the west tries to contain it. It just too big, too smart, too powerful and united to do so, you merely slow down yourself moving on, march on the exciting and glorious scientific age.

    • Avatar Not an Idiot like Bot Terry 18/12/2020 @ 6:06 pm

      Stealing is not advancing.

  9. Avatar Julia 18/12/2020 @ 1:31 pm

    sometimes it is strange feeling. might be very difficult for europe to admit that china has really developed too fast, so the way to make the feeling better is to pull china down to the ground?
    but is it not a wrong way? if you see someone has achieved better score, from my point of view what you only should do is, to make yourself better, to get better score, not to try to make others worse.

  10. Avatar Bikram Ghimire 18/12/2020 @ 5:48 pm

    Communism is the only that institution in the world which is giving strong blows to those who are just
    creating the problems among the countries are enjoying economic benifits by selling their weapons from long time in the fake sake of human right, peace and democracy. Those countries are the real terrorist hidden behind the curtain. Now they are shaken due to the rise of China Because china isthe only power in the world to help the poor countries by providing the technology in cheap price.

  11. Avatar Sam pam 18/12/2020 @ 7:13 pm

    Respect is mutual. China just has to recognize that the hypocrites in U.S. and its Jackal countries can and will never be friends. National security is just an excuse. Snowden leaked NSA collected information sent by fibre optic cable between Google and Yahoo data hubs ‘at will’. All those minions never dare to investigate. Germany’s Merkel was frequently bugged by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Obama. Germany feared that an investigation would infuriate U.S Uncle Sam is very successful in reining its Jackals by chains. U.S. led its Jackals to invade Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan that killed hundreds of thousands Iraqis and Afghans, if not yet million. The perpetrators are still at large, and all those hypocrites are talking about human rights, freedom of speech when I.S. classified its atrocities in Iraq and Australia said that its atrocities were fake news.

  12. Avatar Ann 18/12/2020 @ 9:17 pm

    In Europe 5G network must build Finnish Nokia.

  13. Avatar Happiman 20/12/2020 @ 4:08 am

    Chinese Communist party and its followers are cheaters, stealers by nature.

    “The attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America’s technology supply chain, according to extensive interviews with government and corporate sources.”

    By the order of Chinese military force, SuperMicro provided a server motherboard with a sophiscated backdoor in 2015.

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