COMMENT:

Never mind the vaguely conspiratorial murmurings that Huawei could be spying on the UK through backdoors in its telecommunications network. Never mind Washington's incendiary charge that the Chinese technology giant is stealing US trade secrets. And never mind the fact that Huawei's 5G technology is already blocked in the States, Australia and New Zealand.

No, this report by the UK watchdog suggests the Government may have cause to block Huawei in this country through its security incompetence.

The language of the document prepared by the Oversight Board set up to evaluate Huawei's cyber security was firm, adopting the tone of a parent about ready to say "I'm not angry, just disappointed".

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The watchdog did not find any such backdoors, nor does it push for a ban at this stage.

But its frustration with Huawei is more than apparent. The board said it has seen "no material progress" on the "concerning issues" and "underlying defects" in Huawei's software development.

It is withering stuff which should give pause to any country or company looking to use Huawei's technology in its 5G infrastructure. You understand the geopolitical conundrum the UK finds itself in, particularly with the current broiling Brexit uncertainty.

The UK will be keen not to damage its relations with China by banning Huawei. Nor damage its relations with the US by not doing so, with the Trump administration pushing for other countries to follow its lead and block the Chinese firm's technology.

But for all of the global machinations, the Government's decision should come down to the national interest. Huawei's 5G technology has been widely adopted due to its low-cost and its presence will undoubtedly accelerate the building of an infrastructure that will offer a much faster, and efficient, mobile internet.

But is it worth it? Many may point to China's investment in the UK's nuclear power industry as more of a security concern.

And for its part, Huawei maintains it does not provide backdoors to the Chinese government and has acknowledged the defects in its system, promising a US$2 billion ($2.9b) fund to address them.

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But the watchdog casts severe doubt that Huawei are up to the task.