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Should Canada ban Huawei from bidding on government projects?

Categories: Canada, Community, Politics

UPDATE Oct. 10: Canada has invoked a rarely used national security exception in its call for bids to build a secure government communications network.

"The government's going to be choosing carefully in the construction of this network, and it has invoked the national security exception for the building of this network," Andrew MacDougall, spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said at a news conference.

MacDougall did not say whether this would exclude Huawei from winning bids for the building the network that would carry phone calls, email and data center services.

"I'm not going to comment on any one company in particular. I'll leave it to you if you think Huawei should be a part of a Canadian government security system," he said.

Original post Oct. 9:

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee warned Monday that China's two leading tech companies pose a national security threat, and the head of that committee has the same warning for Canada.

 Huawei provides high-speed networks for Bell Canada, Telus, SaskTel and Wind Mobile. (Reuters)The government body said the U.S. should block mergers and acquisitions by Huawei Technologies Ltd. and ZTE Corp, two of the biggest suppliers of telecommunications equipment and mobile devices.

Here in Canada, Huawei has supplied high-speed networks for Bell Canada, Telus, SaskTel and Wind Mobile.

And now the Canadian government is accepting bids to build a new super-secure telecom system, a multi-billion project in part to replace data systems contaminated beyond repair by a massive Chinese cyber-attack in 2010.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers told CBC News that letting Huawei build such a network would be a mistake. "I would not have the faith and confidence," he said.

Rogers says the fear is that electronic bugs will be imbedded in telecom systems to secretly transmit data back to China.

"There are bugs, back doors and beaconing going on in Huawei gear. We have had lots of reports of that happening," he said.

While there is little concrete proof to back Rogers' claim, former CSIS assistant deputy director of intelligence Ray Boisvert says it is possible.

"Can a company that manufactures hardware embed certain codes that would allow them to back-door a lot of information that goes through the network? I have seen it hands-on through my own experience. It is true," he said.

Both the U.S. and Australia have already banned Huawei from bidding on major telecommunications projects.

Should Canada ban Huawei from bidding on government projects? Let us know what you think.



(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Tags: Canada, Politics, POV, Technology, Technology and Science

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