USA warns Germany a Huawei deal could hurt intelligence sharing

The U.S. has warned Germany about possible repercussions of using Huawei in its upcoming 5G mobile network citing security concerns. Here a billboard for the Chinese telecom giant is seen in the Berlin Hauptbahnhof railway station

Germany, like other European Union countries, has relied heavily on USA intelligence on terror and other threats provided by the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and other spy services.

USA officials declined to say whether other countries have received or would receive similar warnings. Instead, it has introduced an inspection scheme that analyses the equipment, while Huawei has offered to let the federal IT ministry analyze its source code.

The US believes that allowing the Chinese company Huawei to construct and maintain 5G networks will give the Chinese government a backdoor into communications surveillance. Further, the US likely needs its allies to support the pushback against Huawei in order for the isolation tactic to have any meaningful effect. Huawei and other Chinese companies have been under fire from the Trump administration following several accusations including allegations of been used by the Chinese government for espionage.

Last week, Germany said it didn't want to ban Huawei from building its 5G network, noting that it'd tighten security around all vendors instead, Reuters reported.

"Because 5G networks are largely software-defined, updates pushed to the network by the manufacturer can radically change how they operate", NSC spokesman Garrett Marquis told the paper.

Neither the US State Department, the German economics minister nor Huawei immediately responded to requests for comment. A different German security official told the paper he had received a less aggressive line from his equivalents stateside, so it's possible that the ambassador's notice was more bark than bite.

While some allies including NewZealand have succumbed to pressures from Washington, countries like Germany have refused to followed suit and has rolled out new conditions which must be met if the Chinese firm must take part in the 5G mobile network rollout.

The year ended with the arrest of Huawei's chief financial officer in Canada at U.S. request, to the consternation of China.

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