October 17, 2022
The Government has published its response to its consultation on proposals to issue a designation notice and designated vendor direction for Huawei, stating that it has decided to go ahead with the proposals.
The Government says that to protect the UK’s public telecoms networks and services against security risks, it introduced the Telecommunications (Security) Act 2021. The 2021 Act amended the Communications Act 2003 to provide the Secretary of State with new national security powers to:
- issue directions, in the interests of national security, to public communications providers placing controls on their use of goods, services or facilities supplied, provided or made available by a designated vendor specified in the direction (designated vendor directions); and
- issue notices, in the interests of national security, designating a person for the purpose of issuing a designated vendor direction (designation notices).
Between 18 February and 21 March 2022, the Government held a targeted consultation on proposals to issue a designation notice to Huawei and a designated vendor direction to 35 public communications providers, placing controls on their use of Huawei products and services. The consultation sought views from Huawei on the designation notice, and views from Huawei and the consulted providers on the designated vendor direction. The designation notice set out the reasons for which the Government considered Huawei to pose a risk to the national security of the UK. The designated vendor direction detailed the controls that the Government was proposing to introduce, and the rationale for them.
The consultation received 26 responses. The Government says that, in general, responses on the designated vendor direction did not call into question the national security rationale for the Government to take action to protect the network from the risk posed by Huawei. However, some responses argued for changes to the scope and timelines for some requirements. The response from Huawei on both the designation notice and the designated vendor direction stated that none of the proposed measures were necessary for reasons of national security. Huawei also argued that, even if there was a national security case for some action to be taken, the controls proposed by the Government would still be disproportionate.
The Government’s response document states that, having considered consultation responses, the Secretary of State has decided that it is necessary in the interests of national security to issue a designation notice to Huawei, and that it is necessary in the interests of national security to issue a designated vendor direction to specified public communications providers. It also sets out the requirements that, having considered consultation responses, the Secretary of State has decided are proportionate to be included in the designated vendor direction. To access the Government’s response, click here.