French Senate Rejects Tougher Telecom Control despite U.S. Warning About Huawei

The French Senate on Wednesday rejected a proposed legislation aimed at tightening checks on telecoms gears, following a U.S. warning about the China’s telecom giant Huawei.

As reported in Reuters, the new legislation was the government’s last-minute addition to a wide-ranging corporate law and would have required telecom companies to seek official approval for the use of various equipment deemed to specifically sensitive for sabotage risks and spying.

Justifying their vote against the amendment, many senators emphasized that the government did not give enough to thoroughly discuss the matter, which they consider as strategic and crucial.

Elisabeth Lamure, senator and vice-chair of economic affairs committee of the upper house, said that the senators haven’t been able to do their work as members of parliament.

Senate’s rejection indicates that the government will require to look for another bill for passing the provision, which could detain its implementation by a few months.

It will find other legislation to raise up this issue, according to an official at finance ministry of France, before the anticipation of vote in the Senate that the legislation would be voted down.

Huawei, the biggest telecom equipment maker in the world, has been facing scrutiny from the U.S and other countries over its ties with the government of China and accusations that Beijing could employ its technology for spying, which the telecom giant denies.

The Justice Department of the United States has also charged the company with conspiring to violate the Trump Administration sanctions on Iran and with stealing T-Mobile’s robotic technology, Reuters reported.

In addition, future deployment of 5G mobile networks has raised the government’s concerns, as two main French telecom operators SFR Group of Altice Europe and Bouygues Telecom are already using Huawei’s gear for their network.

The transformation of 4G to 5G modifies several things at the technical level, suggesting that the most sensitive data are not only in the main networks but also in the antennas, and therefore this sensitive information must be protected, France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

Author: Sudip Saha

Sudip Saha is one of the leading tech consultants in APAC, having served at key positions in leading IT consulting firms. He has extensively written about the commercial viability and impact of next-generation technologies, most notably AI, IoT, and Big Data. Sudip’s forte lies in offering a nuanced analysis on the key developments in the tech landscape. A reputed thought-leader, his views have been published in leading publications, including CIO, ZD Net, Economic Times, and The Economist