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The government-led committee set up to vet products made by the controversial Chinese firm Huawei has warned it has found new significant issues that could pose a risk to the British telecommunications industry.

The Huawei oversight board, which is chaired by the head of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said it had found further “significant technical issues in Huawei’s engineering processes leading to new risks in the UK telecommunications networks”.

The watchdog said in its annual report on Huawei that the company had made “no material progress” in addressing existing security flaws identified in last year’s assessment and raised serious doubts about the Chinese company’s ability to deliver a $2bn (£1.5bn) programme to address concerns previously raised by the UK oversight board.

The report said: “At present, the oversight board has not yet seen anything to give it confidence in Huawei’s capacity to successfully complete the elements of its transformation programme that it has proposed as a means of addressing these underlying defects.

“[Our] work has continued to identify concerning issues in Huawei’s approach to software development bringing significantly increased risk to UK operators.”

It also casts doubt on whether UK operators should be involved with Huawei over the future roll out of telecommunications networks. The problems included a concern related to a product called eNodeB, which provides a connection between the network and a user’s mobile phone.

The report said: “It will be difficult to appropriately risk-manage future products in the context of UK deployments, until the underlying defects in Huawei’s software engineering and cyber security processes are remediated.”

However, it did not call for a ban on Huawei’s equipment being used in the roll out of 5G networks. The US has put increasing pressure on the UK and other countries to stop Huawei from being involved in the deployment of future 5G networks. Countries including Australia have stopped Huawei from being involved, citing national security concerns. Read more

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