By Vesh Arumugam
WA government is rethinking if it would continue its contract with China’s giant tech Huawei to maintain to build and maintain a new digital 4G radio network for the Perth train system, after some sensational releases by the United States Justice Department last week.
The allegations are Huawei has been allegedly defrauding banks to violate US sanctions against Iran, alleged stealing trade secrets and alleged money laundering.
Premier Mark McGowan says the issue triggered many high concerns and serious thoughts of whether the Government is going to continue the contract with Huawei.
“We learnt about this issue the day before yesterday, obviously, we are seeking advice in relation to whether Huawei can continue to meet the obligations under the contract,” he said.
When asked about whether the Government is comfortable with the contract after these allegations, Premier Mark McGowan said they followed the right avenues to get this tender and it looked just about fine at that time.
“It was a contract, a tender process, we went through that was independent of the government and when it came forward and said that Huawei was a successful tenderer, we went to the federal government and we asked the ASIO if there’s a problem here, they said there wasn’t . So we followed the advice we received,” Mr McGowan said.
However, Dr Ian Cook, Head of Global Studies at Murdoch University says the real challenge for young Australians who are digital media obsessed.
While some believe it’s about continuity of supply and not cyber security, Dr Cook believes that cyber security remains the top concern.
“The new challenge is for young people who have much more network and are much more connected to anybody else, sending much more information over digital technology. This information could be at anyone’s hands,” he said.
“I think there are lots of issues behind that and I’m not sure if it’s just about cyber security. As I was saying, it’s also about the rise of China, its power and influence including in this region.”
“For people on their Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat and Whatsapps … you’ve gotta be aware that [your] information could be extracted by people with affaires or with criminal intentions.”
Deputy Opposition Leader Liza Harvey is calling on the state government to tear up its contract with Huawei.
She also asked the government to release the details of the tender.