Technology

Brazil's 5G auction: the internal government dispute over security issues

Brazilian telecoms regulator and president's security cabinet disagree on whether cybersecurity issues should be included in the 5G auction bidding notice

Workers work on the maintenance of Huawei's antennas
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  • GSI, the president’s national security cabinet, didn’t banned Huawei’s participation in 5G’s auction;
  • But the Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel and GSI disagree on whether cybersecurity issues should be included in the 5G auction bidding notice.

According to Valor Econômico newspaper, Brazil‘s National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) is resisting taking into account a new protocol sent by the office of the president’s national security chief General Augusto Heleno, known as the GSI (an acronym in Portuguese for Institutional Security Cabinet), for the 5G auction bidding notice.

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GSI has been pressing Anatel to reduce the predominance of a single manufacturer in the elements that make up the networks of telecom carriers in the country. Meanwhile, the congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, President Jair Bolsonaro’s son, argues that the Chinese giant Huawei should be left out of the auction.

According to the newspaper, although the GSI has not banned the company’s participation in the auction, some sectors of the government seek an alignment with the United States government that, led by Donald Trump, banned Huawei.

Although Huawei is the world leader in telecommunications infrastructure, U.S banned its activity in American territory and is pressuring allies, such as Brazil, to not make deals with the Chinese company. The reason is that Huawei is suspected of allowing vulnerabilities in its own networks to allow international espionage at the behest of the Chinese government. Until now, nothing proves that Huawei is indeed in these practices, although Reuters obtained documents that would show that Huawei sold products of American origin to operators in Iran, which may be odd since U.S has sanctions against the mid-west country.

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Eduardo Bolsonaro endorses that allowing Huawei in Brazil would undermine future cooperation agreements with the United States in the military area.

The GSI published a document analyzing the risks of cyber attacks against strategic government and financial agencies and issued a protocol that addresses the minimum protection requirements for 5G networks indicating compliance verification procedures. On the other hand, Anatel believes that the requirements will be more effective if defined in the regulations, which can be adjusted at any time.