Any equipment made by Huawei Technologies Co (華為) or ZTE Corp (中興) is to be quickly eliminated after a review of past government procurement cases, Minister Without Portfolio Wu Tze-cheng (吳澤成), who chairs the Public Construction Commission, said yesterday.
Wu made the statement at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, which was reviewing the commission’s budget for fiscal 2019.
Taiwan in 2013 banned the use of core telecoms equipment manufactured by Chinese companies, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said on Saturday, after US magazine The National Interest reported on the risks that such equipment could pose to Taiwan’s security.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
The magazine cited Kitsch Liao (廖彥棻), a Taiwan-based cybersecurity specialist, as saying that Huawei has built backdoors into its hardware that serve as a dual threat to communications, enabling both espionage and sabotage.
Democratic Progressive Party legislators Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) and Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) asked Wu how the government regulates telecoms’ use of Huawei products.
Cheng said that in 2012 some telecoms were found to be using core network technology built by Huawei.
The National Security Bureau in 2013 said that the Investigation Bureau and Presidential Office had used the company’s wireless network adapters.
The commission should quickly inform telecoms that are involved in government procurement that they are banned from using core equipment made by Huawei and ZTE, Cheng said, adding that telecoms should work with the NCC to dispose of such equipment that is still in use.
The US National Defense Authorization Act bans US government agencies and contractors from using products from Huawei and ZTE, while Australia, India and the UK have similar rules, Cheng said.
Wu said that the Public Construction Commission would do as Cheng asked and would circulate a reminder regarding the regulations.
The Government Procurement Act (政府採購法) stipulates that government agencies can set regulations governing the participation of foreign suppliers in government procurement cases, Wu said.
Separately, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) told a news conference that the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is not using any telecom equipment that is the subject of national security concerns.
The administration has been paying close attention to issues related to information security as have other democratic nations around the world, Huang said.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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