The working group created by the Government for the security issues of the fifth generation of the mobile network (5G) has already finished its analysis, revealed this Wednesday the Assistant Secretary of State and Communications, Alberto Souto de Miranda, in Parliament. The minister said, without revealing them, that the conclusions will be "endorsed by the Government". But he indicated that there is a set of concerns, the solutions of which will involve investing in the certification of equipment in networks, permanent and continuous audits and the increased importance of diversifying suppliers. Regarding the critical infrastructure of the State, the Government may come to favor suppliers from the European Union, bypassing the technological dichotomy between the United States and China.
“A working group was set up to analyze security issues and follow up on recommendations on this matter” from the toolbox approved by the European Union, recalled Alberto Souto de Miranda, at the Economy, Innovation, Public Works and Housing committee, at a hearing regarding competition in the telecommunications sector and its effects on the implementation of 5G in Portugal, required by Bloco de Esquerda.
The working group focused on fears raised by the extreme positions between the United States and China, which have placed 5G at the center of the technological debate, leading Washington to ostracize Chinese companies, especially Huawei, and to pressure other states to follow the example, claiming that the 5G supplied by Chinese companies is an open door for state espionage led by Xi Jinping. Huawei, for its part, has rejected any accusations.
“This working group analyzed the different risk scenarios and, therefore, this work is concluded”, continued the minister, without being able to reveal the conclusions of this working group, “which are still confidential” and that “there are things that are not they can even reveal ”.
This analysis resulted in a set of concerns that the government indicated that can be resolved. As? “We are going to have an equipment certification system, with probably national laboratories in networks with European laboratories - technological laboratories that certify that the equipment does not have such equipment there. chip evil that captures information ”.
Souto Miranda also suggested that the solution undergo “an assessment that, instead of from time to time […], becomes continuous”.
That is, "audits of installed technologies are now made on a more permanent and continuous basis, diversifying suppliers". "I think it is a very important issue and that it is a different thing from banning suppliers," he said.
"We know that there are countries that are on a tougher line, perhaps due to the privileged relations they have with other countries," he explained, indicating that this will not be the case in Portugal.
“It seems to us that the dominant European position will be to diversify the range of supplies and, above all, to force this to happen in the country's critical infrastructures, military, among others, in which there must be redundancy or exclude them”, clarified the ruler.
“Personally, I am not shocked that there are doubts about whether a certain technology does not inspire total confidence that there is a political decision that there, in that network core that particular department of the information service does not include Chinese technology or North American technology, only European technology ”, he continued.
Souto de Miranda also recalled that the espionage allegations that underlie the technological dispute between Washington and Beijing are not new, highlighting the “historical situation” of the USA. “Here a few years ago we all remember that they were spying on mails of Mrs. Merkel [Chancellor of Germany], who was not exactly an enemy, was an ally ”, emphasized the government official.
Admitting that "everyone has glass roofs", the Secretary of State said he preferred "having a European framework with a culture of data protection", which is "much more reassuring, which is in accordance with the values" of the Portuguese Constitution.
[Corrected title, to specify that the preference expressed concerns only core (nuclear) networks]