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February, 2019 5:40 AM

Huawei says Australians' data is secure

Huawei says Australians' data is secure

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei wants Australians to know their data is secure and won't be handed over to Chinese spy agencies.

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By AAP 27.06.2018 09:48 AM

The local arm of Chinese-owned telecommunications giant Huawei says Australian customer data will never be handed over to Chinese spy agencies.

Huawei also says it is leading the world in 5G technology and Australia can't be left behind with short-sighted bans based on security fears.

Huawei Australia chairman John Lord, a former rear admiral, told the National Press Club the company obeys the law in the 170 countries in which it operates.

He said while Chinese law requires companies to hand over information, it won't happen in Australia.

"We won't do it. Because that is completely illegal," Mr Lord said on Wednesday.

The company has configured its operations to retain Australian data in Australia, and it has end-to-end cybersecurity on its global operations.

"We've realised that as a Chinese company - we knew then, but we now realise more - we have to be squeaky clean," Mr Lord said.

Australia recently decided to fund new data cables to the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea rather than let Huawei build them, over concerns about Chinese intelligence getting access to them.

And Huawei looks set to be banned from being involved in the rollout of 5G mobile technology in Australia for the same reasons.

"We are proud that after every kind of inspection, audit, review, nothing sinister has been found," Mr Lord said.

"No wrongdoing, no criminal action or intent, no 'back door', no planted vulnerability and no 'magical kill switch'."

Mr Lord said when Huawei was excluded from Australia's NBN, the equipment instead came from the Nokia factory one kilometre down the road in Shanghai.

"Our products are made up of components from all around the world, as are all our competitors' products," he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull did not want to discuss security issues surrounding Huawei, saying only that the government had sought advice from intelligence agencies.

"We want to ensure the people who influence and make decisions about our democracy are Australians," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

"This is all about security and sunlight and sovereignty."

Mr Lord said he was concerned that security agencies were taking flippant comments from United States security bosses about Huawei too seriously.

"That worries me. That is the type of mud that is sticking."

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