The cabinet will oblige Dutch telecom providers to take "additional security measures" when constructing the new mobile network 5G, the successor to 4G. This is stated in a letter from Minister Grapperhaus (Justice and Security) to the Lower House.

According to the minister, the three major telecom providers, KPN, T-Mobile and VodafoneZiggo, are already taking measures to this end. What exactly is expected from the parties is unknown.

Possible attacks

These extra measures would increase the resilience of the telecom providers. In the letter, Grapperhaus specifically mentions an increase in the number of attacks in the so-called supply chain. This is the supply chain, the process in which the product is made.

In that process, hackers operating on behalf of countries could attempt to gain access to the hardware and software of equipment sold by network providers. This allows them to infiltrate into the organization where the equipment will be located.

This can have two goals, Grapperhaus writes. On the one hand, the hackers can try to collect all kinds of data. Think of trade secrets or military strategies. The other purpose is sabotage, for example, laying down the energy network or the internet.

The threat from China and the possible role of Huawei are not mentioned by name in the letter to Parliament. Grapperhaus does write: "The risks to national security are significantly increased if the service providers also come from countries that have an offensive cyber program against Dutch interests."

The minister seems to be pointing to China, and this is in line with what the AIVD said earlier this year.

German strategy

This letter does not therefore make a clear decision about the role of Huawei in Dutch 5G networks. The Netherlands seems to align itself with the German strategy. They decided earlier on stricter rules. Huawei then stated that it expects to be able to meet that.

Such a strategy does not make a hard 'no' necessary, but keeps the possibility open to say that a company does not meet the requirements.

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