CSIS director warns of state sponsored espionage via 5G networks

Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) director David Vigneault used his first public speech to warn Canadians of state-sponsored espionage by using 5G mobile networks.

The Globe and Mail reported that he was speaking in Toronto at the Economic Club of Canada on December 4th, 2018. At the event, Vigneault said many aggressive states are targeting large companies and universities to get new technologies, but did not mention any names of countries, companies or universities.

“Many of these advanced technologies are dual-use in nature in that they could advance a country’s economic, security and military interests,” he said to about 100 people.

He noted to audience members that there were five areas, or “the foundation of Canada’s future growth,” that is being threatened in Canada, including 5G mobile technology, artificial intelligence, quantum technology, biopharma, and clean tech.

“CSIS has seen a trend of state-sponsored espionage in fields that are crucial to Canada’s ability to build and sustain a prosperous knowledge-based economy,” he said.

These comments come at a time when the head of U.K.’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, raised concerns on December 3rd, 2018 of Huawei being involved in the development of the country’s 5G infrastructure.

5G, the next iteration of mobile network technology, could potentially help cities become more connected to smart technology.

Vigneault’s speech also comes at a time when three members (New Zealand, Australia, U.S.) of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance have decided to ban Huawei from 5G networks.

The alliance are a group of countries that share information and intelligence with regards to terrorism, security and espionage. The group consists of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

More recently, the U.S. has been lobbying its allies to also ban the Shenzhen, China-based telecommunications giant from supplying equipment for the nation’s first 5G network out of fear of national security concerns.

According to a draft of China’s national intelligence law that was quietly released, all Chinese companies “shall support, cooperate with and collaborate in national intelligence work, and maintain the secrecy of national intelligence work they are aware of.”

Scott Bradley, vice-president of Huawei Canada, said to MobileSyrup on November 29th, 2018: “Huawei Canada will continue to work collaboratively with the Canadian government, carriers and other domestic stakeholders to take whatever steps are needed to ensure and protect the integrity of Canada’s national telecommunications infrastructure, including the rollout of 5G technology. Our highest priority is — and always has been — the security and privacy of the networks that we help to equip here in Canada.”

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s office did not confirm if U.S. officials approached him to ban Huawei, but Conservative MP Peter Kent says he is aware of some of his colleagues being approached.

His office told MobileSyrup that Canada is doing a review of 5G technology in the country.

Source: The Globe and Mail