Brit security experts raise concern over Huawei's links to Chinese military

Last Updated: Sun, Mar 06, 2011 10:50 hrs

US officials have raised concerns about Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, a former member of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Security, after British Business Secretary Vince Cable backed a giant Chinese company that is trying to build a mobile phone network on the London Underground.

The deal between telecom giant Huawei, accused of having links with the Chinese military, and London Underground is all set to be cleared by Ministers. This would enable passengers to use mobiles on the Tube by the time of the 2012 Olympic Games, the Daily Mail reports.

Cyber and telecom experts, however, have warned that Huawei represented a potential spying threat, and that the installation of the equipment could be used to hack into mobile calls or even shut off telephone exchanges.

"There is a general problem with this sort of kit - it gives someone the potential to turn off our telephone exchanges. And that is the sort of thing that rightly worries the security services," Dr Richard Clayton, a security researcher at Cambridge University, said.

But Tim Watkins, Huawei's Vice President for Western Europe, has denied that his company's technology represents any security threat to US or British telecom networks.

"There is no risk to national security as a result of our equipment," Watkins said dding that leading telecoms operators around the world, including British Telecom, had used Huawei's equipment, and there were no security breaches.

The technology that Huawei sells is used by telecom networks all over the world, including in India and the Middle East. The company has annual revenues of about 14 billion pounds and employs 100,000 people worldwide. (ANI)