US may cut information sharing if Portugal opts for Huawei in 5G

O vice-secretário Adjunto do Departamento de Estado para a Comunicação Cibernética e Internacional e para a Política de Tecnologia de Informação dos Estados Unidos esteve em Lisboa e alertou sobre os riscos de usar tecnologia Huawei no 5G. “A única forma de mitigar é escolher a Samsung, Nokia ou Ericsson”.

“Não representa uma ameaça, representa uma realidade prática que precisamos de nos proteger”, defendeu Robert Strayer.

Minutes before, in a briefing with journalists during a visit to Lisbon, the official had clearly explained the position that the United States should take if Portugal chooses to use Chinese technology, namely Huawei, in the new telecommunications network, 5G.

“Obviamente que não ficamos satisfeitos quando vemos a Huawei a ser implementada, em qualquer rede que seja”, explicou o vice-secretário Adjunto do Departamento de Estado para a Comunicação Cibernética e Internacional e para a Política de Tecnologia de Informação dos Estados Unidos.

“Estamos preocupados sobre como isso poderia impactar a cooperação próxima que temos com Portugal, tanto a nível económico como de segurança”, disse, recordando que os dois países, no âmbito da NATO e do policiamento, têm iniciativas em conjunto.

Segundo Strayer, se os Estados Unidos entenderem que os seus dados foram comprometidos “teríamos de reduzir as formas como interagimos na partilha de informação, e reavaliar como o equipamento da Huawei irá impactar as redes”.

At a time when 5G divides the United States and China, taking Europe in the middle, Strayer's visit is mainly aimed at alerting various entities to the risks that the use of Huawei equipment in the new network entails. The official has already met with the president of ANACOM, with deputies, with representatives of the main operators and equipment suppliers, and meetings with members of the Government are also scheduled.

These risks are mainly security, as the US says that Huawei is just an arm of the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party, used to collect data for use on both the military and economic front.

For Robert Strayer, European countries should buy equipment from suppliers such as Samsung, Nokia or Ericsson, as this comes from countries where companies are independent and legally protected.

“Não há outra forma de mitigar o risco senão usar esses fornecedores”, sublinhou.

Protect information

In this context, Roberto Strayer was the third member of the Trump administration to visit Lisbon and speak to journalists after, in March last year, Prime Minister António Costa said in Parliament that he saw no reason to exclude Huawei from market.

Asked about the outcome of the meetings in Lisbon, Strayer explained that there are already signs that decision-makers perceive the United States' fears about security.

Ainda assim, a posição do Governo de Trump é clara. “Temos de proteger a informação confidencial que temos, alguma dela é classified, outra simplesmente sensível”.

No caso de Portugal não excluir a Huawei do 5G, isso forçaria os EUA a “alterar a forma como fazemos negócio, estatal e privado, e eu não sei o que isso vai querer dizer”, explicou Strayer.

“Não queremos ver qualquer diminuição do nível de cooperação que temos nas áreas de economia e e segurança”, afirmou o responsável, adiantando no entanto que “a escolha do equipamento Huawei no 5G poderá afectar a nossa capacidade de fazer esforços cooperativos”, sublinhou.

Robert Strayer reiterated at the end of briefing that the position of the United States is not a threat, but a reality of adaptation to a decision.

“Reconhecemos que uma decisão soberana irá ser tomada por Portugal nesta área”, concluiu.

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