CTVNews.ca staff, with reports from CTV News ’Annie Bergeron-Oliver
Published Friday, December 28, 2018 10:00 PM EST
US President Donald Trump may issue an executive order in the new year that will ban American companies from using equipment made by Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE for spying on concerns, according to a Reuters report, a UK-based news agency.
Such executive orders will follow similar steps by countries such as Australia and New Zealand, which have banned Chinese companies such as Huawei from participating in the development of the next generation 5G mobile network. Other countries are currently considering similar actions.
Digital technology expert Ritesh Kotak told CTV News that he understood why countries took action.
"Beijing can at any time ask these organizations to share information if it is related to national security or national interests," he explained. "(And) if the technology itself is compromised at the hardware level, then all communication – everything that happens on the network – will basically be compromised and can be targeted by espionage or spying."
Canada – who arrested Huawei Meng Wanzhou's financial chief on December 1 at the behest of U.S. authorities. for alleged violations of Iranian sanctions – facing increasing pressure from its allies to take similar steps.
"We are right to be concerned," said Siber security expert Brian O & Higgins to CTV News. "If the government is motivated to do something, they will put a bug in the device … Even if you have access to the source code for weeks or months, if something is carefully hidden, no one will find it. "
In retaliation for Meng's arrest, two Canadians – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor – were detained in China in December. The third, Sarah McIver, was recently released after being arrested for visa issues.
Trade experts say that rising tensions between China and Canada basically stop any opportunities for trade agreements signed between the two countries in the near future.
"Trying to sell all kinds of trade agreements to the Canadian population, I just don't see it happening," Patrick Leblond, who teaches public and international affairs at the University of Ottawa, told CTV News. "So I think every trade agreement, if there is one between Canada and China, is still years away."
For its part, Huawei said in a statement that it "has been operating in Canada for ten years and there has never been a problem."
"Huawei remains fully committed to doing whatever is demanded by the Canadian government in our operations now and in the future," the company added.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously stated that any decisions regarding Huawei's ban from Canada's 5G network would be handed over to national security experts.