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Czech regulator warns against using Huawei, ZTE equipment

The Czech Republic's National Cyber and Information Security Agency has warned against the use of both software and hardware from Chinese telecom equipment makers such as Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. over cybersecurity concerns.

In a Dec. 17 statement, NCISA Director Dušan Navrátil said the companies are required under China's laws to participate in intelligence activities, and thus the use of their equipment may pose a threat to key state telecom systems.

The watchdog, citing its findings and those of its allies, added that China "actively pursues its interests in the territory of the Czech Republic, including influence and espionage intelligence activities."

Huawei has denied the agency's statement, urging the latter to provide evidence. It said it has been a trusted partner of major Czech telecom providers, Reuters reported.

The regulator's warning follows a similar warning by U.S. officials against the use of telecom equipment from Chinese companies.

In Europe, French operator Orange SA ruled out plans to work with Huawei in building its 5G network. British Telecom was also looking to remove Huawei-made equipment from its core 3G and 4G networks.

The Australian government has also banned Huawei from providing equipment for the country's planned 5G mobile network on national security grounds.