The debate around 5G is being framed as if picking Huawei instead of an European vendor would upset the control telecommunication providers have over their networks. The reality is more grim: we’ve long crossed that bridge, and most providers already do not have a full understanding of their own infrastructure:

In a modern telecommunications service provider, new equipment is deployed, configured, maintained and often financed by the vendor. Just to let that sink in, Huawei (and their close partners) already run and directly operate the mobile telecommunication infrastructure for over 100 million European subscribers.

The host service provider often has no detailed insight in what is going on, and would have a hard time figuring this out through their remaining staff.

Evgeny Morozov:

On matters of digital infrastructure, domestic policy is also foreign policy. So, we want to catch all the terrorists before they are born? Fine, Big Data are here to help. But, lest we forget, they would also help the governments of China and Iran to predict and catch future dissidents. We can’t be building insecure communication infrastructure and expect that only Western governments would profit from it. […] Google could have easily chosen to encrypt our communications in a way that its own algorithms wouldn’t be able to decipher, depriving both itself and the NSA of much-coveted data. But then Google wouldn’t be able to offer us a free service. And who would be happy about this?