CYBER UK, a two-day cyber-security conference starting in Glasgow on April 24th, gathered senior spooks and industry leaders from every member of the “Five Eyes”, the electronic-spying pact between America, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Delegates debated how “to make cyberspace free, open, peaceful and secure”, as Jeremy Hunt, Britain’s foreign secretary, put it. But many had more pressing questions on their minds.
A day earlier, according to widespread media reports, Britain’s national security council made a decision with major security implications. Unlike Australia and New Zealand, and in the face of dire warnings from America, Britain will allow Huawei, a Chinese telecoms giant, to supply parts of its fifth-generation (5G) mobile network. This will be able to move data at 20 times the speed of existing 4G networks. But Huawei’s kit, the reports say, would be allowed only outside the “core”, the sensitive inner sanctum of 5G networks.