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Poland wants to go beyond EU on 5G security, says minister

Poland plans to restrict “high-risk” 5G telecom vendors in w..

Poland plans to restrict “high-risk” 5G telecom vendors in ways that go beyond a series of security controls proposed by the European Union, a minister told POLITICO.

The EU last week spelled out a range of options for countries to secure their future networks amid a transatlantic debate about 5G security and Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE.

But Poland, a close ally of the United States, will introduce tougher controls that would “limit the use of [telecom equipment] vendors who are suspicious or who are not necessarily trustworthy, or who do not stick to the security standards,” Digital Minister Marek Zagórski said during an interview in Brussels.

Poland wants to “become independent from one vendor,” added the minister, who is a member of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. Local telecom operators procured Huawei equipment for their rollout of previous generations of internet networks, but the government has since turned skeptical of relying on Chinese kit.

In a policy “toolbox” unveiled last week, the European Union recommended that EU capitals keep out “high-risk” vendors of 5G gears by imposing new measures on operators or blocking telecom contracts via a national security review, among other options. Those rules are widely understood as tools for countries to use in dealing with perceived security risks linked to Chinese telecom vendors Huawei and ZTE.

The planned 5G security measures coincide with a tightening of security ties with the United States over the past year.

Zagórski said that Poland was implementing the EUs proposals, “but not only those, because some of them will also exceed the existing set offered by the toolbox” document.

Poland is working on a telecom security law that will further toughen controls, in addition to legislation based on the EU document that has already been drafted, he added.

In September, Warsaw signed an agreement with the U.S. government pledging to only allow “trusted” suppliers into 5G networks. The minister said his government was “translating it into legal provisions.”

Estonia and Romania have signed similar deals with the U.S. government in past months, as Washington sought to have Huawei banned from the European 5G market in the past year.

In September, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence signed an agreement pledging to only allow “trusted” suppliers into 5G networks | Tomas Gzell/EPA-EFE

Zagórski said that in the past year “there was a lot of fuss about Huawei and other Chinese vendors.”

But, he added, the most important change was that “we started speaking about the telecommunication network security as such” — something the minister called a “splendid success” of the Trump administration.

Polish authorities last year also arrested two telecom officials in an investigation into alleged espionage on behalf of Chinese security services, one of whom, Wang Weijing, worked for Huawei in Poland.

The planned 5G security measures coincide with a tightening of security ties with the United States over the past year.

Warsaw asked the U.S. government to establish a permanent military base in the country, while top U.S. officials including President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and State Secretary Mike Pompeo have all made visits to Poland.

The Polish government agreed to drop plans to adopt its own digital tax and wait for discussions at the OECD to conclude.

In January, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki criticized what he described as growing anti-Americanism among EU countries.

Without America, he said, Europe could not survive “hybrid attacks from Russia and the growing influence of China.”Read More – Source

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