Gov’t-sponsored group to ban Huawei devices from networks

Huawei, one of the world’s largest producers of telecommunications equipment, is facing close scrutiny from Western countries, in particular, the United States, citing its close ties to the Chinese government amid allegations that its devices could be used by Beijing for espionage purposes. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The Institute for Information Industry (III), a government-sponsored high-tech research group, said Tuesday it will prohibit users of devices made by China-based Huawei Technologies Co., such as smartphones and notebook computers, from accessing its internal network.

Speaking to CNA, the III said the ban seeks to improve information security at the institution.

The III is the second institution to announce such a ban after the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), another government-sponsored research group made public Monday a similar ban that came into effect on Jan. 15 at noon.

However, the III did not disclose when its measure would be introduced.

Huawei, one of the world’s largest producers of telecommunications equipment, is facing close scrutiny from Western countries, in particular, the United States, citing its close ties to the Chinese government amid allegations that its devices could be used by Beijing for espionage purposes.

The III said after a careful examination last week, no equipment made by Huawei has been used in the mainframe of its computer network.

However, to strengthen information security at the institution, the III will not allow users of Huawei devices to access its internal network.

ITRI said on Monday that its internal network holds plenty of the institution’s research results and know-how, so there have been concerns over information security weaknesses caused by individuals accessing the network using the Chinese brand’s products.

However, ITRI said the institution’s website, which members of the public can log-on to, will continue to be available to users of Huawei products.

Meanwhile, the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs) under the Ministry of the Ministry of Science and Technology is studying the feasibility of imposing a ban on access to its internal network using Huawei devices.

NARLabs President Wang Yeong-her (王永和) said his institution has never purchased China-made products and equipment for use for the sake of information security. In addition, Wang said NARLabs has built an effective firewall to protect its information.

According to the information security office of the Executive Yuan, the Presidential Office and the central government has banned employees from using China-branded communications devices when on duty.

In the private sector, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract chipmaker, and ASE Technology Holding Co., the world’s largest integrated circuit packaging and testing services provider, said employees are not allowed to use smartphones at their production sites.

According to Xunwei Technologies Co., a Huawei sales agent in Taiwan, the Chinese smartphone brand has a 6.6 percent share of the island’s smartphone market, making it one of the top five vendors on the local market.

However, Xunwei Technologies said so far there is no data available on Huawei’s market share in Taiwan’s notebook computer market.

It also emphasized that all Huawei products sold in Taiwan meet regulations and requirements laid down by the National Communications Commission (NCC).

By Chung Jung-feng and Frances Huang