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France wants in on the No Huawei Club while Canuck infosec bloke pretty insistent on ban

Founder warns that 'mediocre employees' may have to go

French parliament is reportedly mulling a ban on Huawei kit being used in next-generation telco networks, potentially heaping further pressure on the Chinese headquartered giant.

The possibility of a French ban was aired by Les Echos, which wrote that it would be introduced as an amendment to corporate law reform legislation before parliament.

Other measures said to be under consideration are an extension to the powers of the national infosec agency, ANSSI, which would be put under the control of an also-strengthened General Secretariat of Defense and National Security.

The legislation the government reportedly hopes to use is the Pacte Act, ironically focused on deregulation, with an amendment to be added banning Huawei from next-generation telecommunications networks. The report claimed Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Telecom, the General Directorate of Enterprises, telco regulator Arcep, French Federation of Telecoms (FFT) and ANSSI were briefed on 16 January.

Over in Canada, added pressure on the company came during the weekend in the form of a column in The Globe and Mail by Richard Fadden, once national security advisor to the prime minister.

"The government should announce sooner, rather than later, that Huawei will be banned," Fadden wrote. "If China would resort to putting Canadians to death to defend its corporate national champion, what might it do if the Chinese Communist Party had unfettered access to Canada's vital communications networks?"

The continuing pressure is beginning to show. Earlier this month, Huawei was defiant with chairman Guo Ping predicting nearly $109bn revenue for this year.

Last week, Huawei's reclusive founder, Ren Zhengfei, spent two hours talking to US media. He said the company is merely a "sesame seed" in an argument between the US and China.

While he didn't use the word "Luddite", he compared fears of Huawei kit to "smashing textile machines back during the industrial revolution" and added that equipment is "controlled by telecom operators, not by Huawei".

However, the Financial Times reported (paywalled) that Ren has sent a memo to staff warning of tough times in 2019, which said: "We also need to give up some mediocre employees and lower labor expenses." ®

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