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Crown dependencies join together to develop critical telecoms framework for high risk vendors

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

The Isle of Man Government, alongside Jersey and Guernsey will work together to safeguard the Island’s Telecoms networks by developing a security framework to put in place safeguards and address the risks associated with the use of Chinese technology from high risk vendors (HRVs). 

The Department for Enterprise in partnership with the Department of Home Affairs will work with key stakeholders to create a framework that aims to protect our telecoms networks and combat threats including cyber-crime and other attacks. This includes the telecommunications industry, the Communications Commission and Manx Utilities (as a network service provider) as well as liaising with the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in a joint approach. 

The Isle of Man will seek to legislate for telecoms security at the earliest opportunity, putting in place the powers necessary to implement a telecoms security framework and exclude identified high risk vendors such as Huawei from parts of the telecommunications networks that are critical to the security and resilience of the Island. 

Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for Enterprise, responsible for the Island’s National Telecommunications Strategy said: 

‘Whilst the implementation of a telecoms security framework, over a phased period of time, will be in alignment to that of the UK and other Crown Dependencies, it is important that these decisions are made to meet the needs of the Isle of Man, its community and its businesses. 

‘The long-term health and diversity of supply in the telecom sector is a critical issue to us all and it will take concerted, sustained, international efforts to fix it. The UK has proposed a seven-year period for Huawei to be phased out. The Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance and the Department for Enterprise are working closely with the industry representatives to understand the best way approach.’ 

Graham Cregeen MHK, Minister for Home Affairs said: 

‘This important decision secures our networks and will protect our Critical National Infrastructure from cyber criminals, hostile state actors and other disruptions. 

‘It is vital that we have a robust telecoms security framework in place that gives confidence to the UK, other jurisdictions and businesses locally. This framework will not only demonstrate how serious we take our security but also how we act swiftly to protect the interests of the Island and those of our neighbours.’ 

A recent report to the UK National Security Adviser has determined the security risks in relation to Huawei result from the inability to source specific equipment parts due to trade restrictions imposed by the United States. This has meant that any new Huawei equipment cannot be properly evaluated and the UK have decided to impose the ban of new equipment from Huawei with effect from 31st December 2020; due to the supply chain coming through the UK, this will extend to key telecoms providers on island. 

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