France is the latest country to tackle 5G vendor security concerns

The bill is a newer version of an earlier piece of legislation, which failed to gain support among French lawmakers earlier this year. (Wikimedia Commons)

France’s parliament is debating a bill that would see the country establish stricter security rules around 5G networks, according to a report from Bloomberg.


The legislation would subject 5G network equipment to special testing to determine whether the equipment is vulnerable to security leaks of sensitive information. Vendor equipment would need to be cleared before those vendors could be eligible for 5G network build-out contracts.


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The bill is a newer version of an earlier piece of legislation, which failed to gain support among French lawmakers earlier this year. It would see safeguards put in place around critical infrastructure, and extend vetting processes to electronic components and software used in towers and equipment. 


The bill is the latest development in an ongoing discussion across Europe on how to best manage security concerns in 5G networks. Most of the discussion has centered around China-based equipment vendor Huawei.


RELATED: European Commission weighs in on 5G security


The U.S. government has led the charge against Huawei, lobbying its allies across the globe to ban the equipment maker in light of concerns that Huawei potentially could allow the Chinese government backdoor access to critical infrastructure. As a result, Australia is banning wireless carriers from using Huawei products on their 5G networks; while Japan has banned its federal agencies from using equipment from either Huawei or ZTE.


RELATED: Huawei files suit against U.S. as dispute around equipment intensifies


Despite U.S. efforts, several European countries have opted to tighten their own security regulations, rather than ban Huawei outright. Germany’s telecom regulator BNetzA announced last month it would not ban Huawei products from 5G build-outs, while the European Commission released a set of operational recommendations that target cybersecurity across 5G networks in the Europe Union. The UK, on the other hand, recently released a report outlining several security concerns it has in Huawei products, but has not yet decided to formally ban the vendor from 5G networks.


French President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, has indicated his interest to build “a coherent strategy” with China, according to Bloomberg’s report. Chinese president Xi Jinping visited France last month.


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