April 15, 2019 / 9:21 AM / 8 days ago

The Netherlands forms task force to assess 5G security risks

FILE PHOTO: Small toy figures are seen in front of a displayed Huawei and 5G network logo in this illustration picture, March 30, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch government on Monday said it had established a special task force to weigh potential security risks as it prepares to build a 5G telecommunications network.

The announcement came after Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday said his government was still exploring options for 5G and had not yet formed an opinion on the possible role of Chinese companies.

The United States has lobbied Europe to shut out China’s Huawei from such projects, saying its equipment could be used by the Chinese government for espionage.

That view was supported by the Dutch security service, which advised the government this month against using technology from countries with active cyber-hacking campaigns against the Netherlands, including China and Russia.

A Dutch decision could be influenced by the confirmation last week that Dutch company ASML, a global leader in semiconductor lithography machines, had been the victim of intellectual property theft, reportedly by Chinese employees.

“The task force is analyzing the vulnerability of 5G networks for abuse by technology providers and what measures are needed to contain these risks,” Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus wrote in a letter to parliament.

The task force will be inter-departmental, led by the national coordinator for counter-terrorism and security, and will work with the three largest network providers, KPN , T-Mobile and VodafoneZiggo.

A recommendation was expected by the end of May, the letter said.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Bart Meijer; Editing by Louise Heavens and David Holmes

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