President proclaimed “Huawei Act”

Illustrative photo.

On Monday, Estonian President Alar Karis announced amendments to the law on electronic communications, the building code and the law on state fees. These amendments will further prevent telecommunications equipment from non-NATO, EU and OECD manufacturers, such as Huawei equipment, from entering the Estonian market.

The aim of the amendments is to bring Estonian legislation in line with Directive 2018/1972 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

One part of the amendments concerns the issuance of permits for equipment used in electronic networks and for the provision of electronic services. When issuing such permits, the equipment risk for Estonian state security will be assessed on the basis of 12 points, one of which is the location of the equipment manufacturer.

This, however, does not mean that if one of the items (for example, the location of the manufacturer of the equipment) does not meet the risk criteria, then all equipment or software will automatically be assigned a high risk status. This requires a comprehensive assessment. At the same time, the explanatory note notes that even non-compliance with one of the criteria may entail obtaining a high-risk status, provided that this criterion is sufficiently substantiated and weighty.

Last Monday, November 29, Sami Seppänen, the chairman of the board of communications company Elisa, addressed the president, urging not to promulgate the law, since no mechanism has been established to compensate market participants who will be affected by the amendments. In particular, a large number of Huawei equipment is used in Elisa networks.

On Tuesday, Alar Heikla, Sales Director of Huawei Technologies in Estonia, commented on the situation, noting that the amendments signed by the president do not prohibit the use of devices and software from the Chinese company.

“The procedure for obtaining licenses for the use of hardware and software equipment permitted and prohibited in communication networks will be approved later by a government decree. The amendments to the Electronic Communications Law do not prohibit the use of Huawei equipment on Estonian telecommunications networks. After 13 years of investing in digitalization in Estonia without any security breaches, Huawei will continue to serve Estonian customers, ”commented Alar Heikla, Sales Director of Huawei Technologies in Estonia.

Huawei emphasizes that all network equipment and software manufacturers are international and use similar supply chains, so it is not justified to link manufacturers to a specific country.

The company has previously been more critical of the amendments. Thus, Huawei representatives did not rule out that the draft decree was created in order to remove them from the market.
In addition, the company noted that the amendments contradict the legislation of the European Union and are discriminatory on the basis of origin.

The amendments also mean that:

• Applications that use telecommunication networks will be included in the concept of telecommunication services (Skype, Viber, and so on).

• Consumer rights will be expanded. The telecommunication service provider will be obliged to provide more detailed information before entering into the contract.

• The EU telecommunications directive will be introduced into Estonian legislation.

• Telecommunications companies will be required to apply for a hardware and software license. The security of the equipment will be assessed by the Department of State Information Systems, the Security Police, the Department of Foreign Intelligence and the Department of Consumer Protection and Technical Supervision.

Source: by

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