US targeting of Huawei just trade politics: Cyber-security expert

Darktrace's director of technology Dave Palmer speaking on Aug 5 at the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit in Tokyo.
Darktrace's director of technology Dave Palmer speaking on Aug 5 at the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit in Tokyo.PHOTO: DARKTRACE

TOKYO • The United States' singling out of China's Huawei Technologies over national security concerns is "just trade politics", according to a cyber-security expert.

Mr Dave Palmer, director of technology at artificial intelligence-driven cyber-security firm Darktrace, told The Sunday Times that he found the accusation "slightly ridiculous" as it was difficult to discriminate against any country or company, what more the world's No. 2 smartphone maker, in a globally connected supply chain.

"Maybe if you're in the military and you're building a missile, for instance, you want to... make sure you have full assurance of your supply chain," Mr Palmer said.

"But for consumer technology, we operate in a joined-up way with companies all over the world. Given how interconnected the supply chain is, even if an individual country like the US shuns Huawei, the company's technology is bound to exist at some point in the ecosystem."

The US, which says Huawei has the ability to spy on customers, is actively lobbying allies to exclude the company from their 5G networks.

"Why would it be OK for a smartphone or a laptop to be made in China but not the 5G equipment?" Mr Palmer said, noting the billions of lines of code in any technology which are virtually impossible to scour for security loopholes.

Walter Sim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 01, 2019, with the headline 'US targeting of Huawei just trade politics: Cyber-security expert'. Print Edition | Subscribe