France's decision to use Chinese telecom Huawei to build out parts of its 5G network drew a rebuke from former House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers, currently the chairman of 5G Action Now.
The U.K. has also decided to use the company for its 5G network, which U.S. officials had discouraged and Rogers had criticized.
The fact that France will try keep Huawei tech out of the core of the network was cold comfort for Rogers.
“Granting any access to Huawei, whether it’s part of the periphery or the core of the system, is tantamount to letting them into the entire system," he said in a statement. "There is no foolproof way to ensure that where France puts Huawei is where they will stay," said Rogers. "This is to say nothing of the fact that Paris is doing business with a company you fundamentally can’t trust – Huawei is linked to the Chinese Communist Party, and is indicted for, among other things, racketeering, IP theft, money launching, and sanctions violations. By dealing with Huawei, you are knowingly and willingly putting your citizen’s data at risk of theft by, or surveillance, from a communist state.”
The news comes only hours after President Donald Trump signed a bill that funds the removal and replacement of Huawei (and Chinese telecom ZTE) network hardware from broadband buildouts using government subsidy money (from the Universal Service Fund).
The FCC last month began collecting info from communications providers on technology from Chinese suppliers Huawei and ZTE in their networks. It has tentatively branded those companies as national security threats whose technology can't be used going forward and must be removed from existing networks built with USF money.
Huawei has pushed back hard on allegations it is a front for the Chinese government and the effort to scrub it from U.S. networks.