Defending our Data: Huawei, 5G, and the Five Eyes
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Defending our Data: Huawei, 5G, and the Five Eyes
16 May @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
The movement of internet communications technology (ICT) toward the fifth generation of wireless networks will provide a profound change in latency, data speed and volume, allowing for new technologies – such as agriculture or delivery drones, self-driving vehicles, and other data-driven tech. The deployment of 5G promises substantial job creation, global leadership, with first-movers set to make billions. This is the background to the UK Government’s renewed contemplation of how best to deliver on its 2017 Digital Strategy, and it is in this context that the Chinese telecommunications giant, Huawei, has entered the debate.
The UK Government’s position has been that it has a long-standing relationship with Huawei, which has given it the ability to mitigate any risks toward network control or data access, but this has not been a unified position and it has become one of the most contentious and technical issues to surface, rivalling Brexit for complexity, cross-disciplinarity, and passion. It has also threatened to split the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, spilling over into the UK’s security posture.
The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to a launch event for our new ‘Defending our Data: Huawei, 5G, and the Five Eyes’ report, bringing together a team of experts from a variety of technical backgrounds who will answer fundamental questions around having “non-trusted” vendors in the nation’s network, discuss Huawei’s ownership structure and its connections to the Chinese state, and consider the potential risks and benefits of its inclusion in the building of the UK’s 5G network.
Bob Seely MP is the Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight. He sits on the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee and is a Parliamentary Private Secretary. Seely has written academically and journalistically on strategic doctrine and foreign affairs as well as more generally on non-conventional and new forms of conflict. He has also been a research associate at the Changing Character of War Programme at the University of Oxford. In 2018, Mr Seely wrote one of the few peer-reviewed definitions of Contemporary Russian Conflict Strategy available in the West. Prior to his election in June 2017, Mr Seely served on the Afghnistan, Iraq, libya and ISIS campaigns as a member of the Armed Forces. He was awarded a Joint Commanders Commendation in 2009 and a Military MBE in the 2016 operational awards and Honours list. From 1990 to 1994, Mr Seely lived in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet states.
Dr. Peter Varnish OBE, is a consultant with Geopolitical Solutions Ltd, focusing on bespoke, analytical services primarily on the terrorist threat and response. From 1975 until 2001 Peter worked for the UK Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office where he held numerous roles including Scientific Adviser at the British Embassy, Washington DC, and Director General of the Strategic Defense initiative Participation Office/Director of Science for Ballistic Missile Defence MoD. On leaving the MoD he created Geopolitical Solutions Ltd as a consultancy that draws upon a wide range of expertise from within the military, government and academic worlds to provide a variety of bespoke, analytical services primarily on the terrorist threat and response. In this capacity he provides advice to two UK Departments of State. He was awarded the OBE in 1982 for his contribution to the Falklands war and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the IET, and the RSA.
Robert Spalding is a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute. His work focuses on U.S.-China relations, economic and national security, and the Asia-Pacific military balance. Spalding has served in senior positions of strategy and diplomacy within the Defense and State Departments for more than 26 years. As Senior Director for Strategy to the President, he was the chief architect of the framework for national competition in the Trump administration’s National Security Strategy (NSS). Spalding’s relationship with business leaders, fostered during his time as a Military Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, allowed him to recommend pragmatic solutions to complex foreign policy and national security issues, which are driving positive economic outcomes for the nation. Spalding’s ground-breaking work on competition in Secure 5G has reset the global environment for the next phase of cyber security in the information age. Spalding is a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
Danielle Cave is the Deputy Head of Australian Strategic Policy institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre. She has worked in international relations, both government and non-government, since 2006. She has published and led projects on a range of global issues with a focus on how cyberspace and digital technologies are impacting Australia’s place in the world. She is also a PhD scholar at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at ANU and in 2016 was a Google Policy Fellow attached to the Harvard University incubated Digital Asia Hub in Hong Kong. Danielle is a former analyst and team leader in the Open Source Centre at the Office of National Assessments and in 2009-12 she also worked as a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute’s Melanesia program where she undertook a secondment to AusAID, working with the Asia strategy, research and communication teams.
Tom Uren is a Senior Analyst in Australian Strategic Policy institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre. Tom was previously employed in the Dept. of Defence and has diverse expertise across internet and cyber issues. He has published and researched international and domestic cyber issues including Australia’s Offensive Cyber capability, the insecurity of the internet of things, and Chinese commercial espionage. Tom has a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and previously worked for CSIRO researching forest tree molecular genetics.
Dr. John Hemmings is Director of the Asia Studies Centre and Deputy Director of Research at the Henry Jackson Society and an Adjunct Fellow at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. Prior to his doctoral studies, he was a visiting fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS and a research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute in Whitehall, working on Northeast Asia security and defence policies. Over the duration of his doctoral research, John has had a number of roles related to Asian foreign policy. In 2013 and 2015, he was the UK Secretariat for the UK-Japan 21st Century Group and in 2015 was invited to become a founding member of the CSCAP-EU committee, based in Brussels. He regularly provides briefings to a number of government departments including the Cabinet Office, The Ministry of Defence, Department of International Trade and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The Henry Jackson Society hosted a discussion on the report ‘Defending our Data: Huawei, 5G, and the Five Eyes’ on 16 May. The event was chaired by Bob Seely and Peter Varnish, Robert Spalding, Danielle Cave, Tom Uren, and John Hemmings intervened to share their insights on the topic.
Bob Seely started by reminding the audience that, despite the fact that Huawei pretends to be a trusted vendor, it is not considered as such by the United States and Australia and it has been blocked by different nations that are not part of the Five Eyes network. He recognised that the issue was not about Huawei but about how open societies defend themselves from regimes representing close societies who may be tempted to use our freedoms to compromise our safety and values.
Danielle Cave then declared to be really impressed with how the Australian government dealt with the issue. She also reminded how deeply embedded Huawei was in the public security apparatus in Jinjiang. She highlighted the complex balance the UK is facing between defending Human Rights and enhancing trade.
Tom Uren then insisted on the fact that in recent months, a number of Australian officials said that they were much more concerned about disruption than they were about espionage. He then explained that, in Australia, they could very clearly be in a situation where China became an adversary. And, according to him, as 5G is rated as the most critical infrastructure in that a lot of other critical services would depend upon it, it does not make a lot of sense to take any risk concerning such a critical infrastructure.
Robert Spalding noted that if one looks closely at the national security strategy that came up in December of 2017, it is obvious that in a globalised internet-powered world, what were avenues of promoting liberal democracy abroad actually has been used by totalitarian regimes to establish a foothold within democracies themselves. He also explained how Chinese law makes sure that the Chinese communist party has access to what its people is doing because it fears what the latter might do if they came together.
Eventually, John Hemmings came back on the recommendations put forward by the Prague conference and claimed that its conclusions were very sensible. He recalled that concerning 5G technology, everything remains based on guess-work. He also underlined the fact that in International Relations, intentionality is a very complex issue and that we cannot know the actual intentions of a policy-maker. Eventually, he cited the proposals that their group of experts came up with. He highlighted the fact that the UK should define what is a high risk vendor and recalled the need to look into the real diversity of suppliers.
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