U.K.’s pro-Huawei signals give Canada breathing space on 5G decision: expert

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OTTAWA — A Canadian security expert says Ottawa will be cheering from the sidelines over fresh signals that Britain believes it can manage any 5G security risks posed by Huawei Technologies.

British media reports say the U.K. National Cyber Security Centre has concluded there are ways to manage risks from using Huawei equipment in advanced fifth-generation mobile networks, amid pressure from the United States to ban the Chinese supplier.

Wesley Wark, a University of Ottawa intelligence expert who closely studies the 5G issue, says if Britain gives Huawei a cautious green light, it will allow Canada some breathing room to resist the U.S. campaign.

The federal government is weighing Huawei’s possible participation in a 5G wireless system that will allow Canadians to do more on cellphones and other internet-connected devices at vastly greater speeds.

Huawei insists it would not use its technology to do the bidding of Beijing’s security agencies.

Wark points to Huawei’s history of fostering technological innovation in Canada and supplying quality gear to major telecommunications providers as reasons to assess the security risks on rational, technical grounds.