This week, the Parliamentary Intelligence-Security forum (PI-SF) held a webinar titled “5G Security Challenges,” with U.S. political leaders and European lawmakers to discuss the unique threat of China’s 5G technology. This follows their previous event, “Security Threats from China,” which discussed the China regime’s cyber espionage campaigns in the U.S. Former Congressman Robert Pittenger again served as host and moderator, and has led the international discussion of national security threats as the founder of PI-SF.
The webinar featured Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT), former Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI), United States Special Representative for International Telecommunications Policy Robert Blair, as well as Heritage scholar Dean Cheng. Representing the European side of the discussion was Romanian delegate Pavel Popescu and European Parliament member Gerolf Annemans.
Former Congressman Rogers kicked off the webinar by discussing his time as Select Intelligence Committee chairman in 2015 when he investigated Huawei and ZTE for potential cyber transgressions. He said that since the investigation, “our concerns have proven to be accurate time and time again,” and that as devices have become increasingly connected to the internet in the past few years, the stored data is at a greater risk to bad actors such as Huawei that have access to the data.
Special Representative Blair hit on similar topics, as he discussed how the current health crisis as led much of the United States to conduct business and education online through potentially unsecured networks. This unprecedented “work from home” period has made it clear that our way of life as a functioning democracy is at stake when it comes to our telecommunications security. He added that as many European countries allow unsecured Chinese technology into their telecoms networks, the Trump Administration will continue to put pressure on our allies to not do business with regime-controlled companies.
These national security webinars are vitally important to generating a consensus that China-controlled companies are dangerous both for our governments and for the individual citizen’s privacy. We encourage these lawmakers to continue to shine a light on the dangers of unsecured technology, particularly with the promise of 5G. As Congressman Stewart put it, we need to consider what the China regime is getting out of heavily subsidizing Huawei and how it serves their long-term goals.