Following in the footsteps of the U.S. Commerce Department, Federal Communications Commission, Best Buy and AT&T & Verizon, the Pentagon has instituted a military ban effectively stopping military personnel from purchasing Huawei and ZTE cellular phones at stores on military bases. According to Army Major Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesperson,
“Huawei and ZTE devices may pose an unacceptable risk to the department’s personnel, information and mission. In light of this information, it was not prudent for the department’s exchanges to continue selling them.”
The House Intelligence Committee raised suspicions as far back as 2012 when they warned that the companies may be using their phones in the U.S. market as a means of spying for the Chinese government. Next up was U.S. carriers AT&T and Verizon who decided to pull the Huawei Mate Pro 10 from their inventory in response to pressure from the U.S. government. In March of 2018 Best Buy cut their ties with Huawei. In April 2018 the U.S. Commerce Department instituted a seven year ban on U.S. companies from selling phone parts to ZTE. Later that same month the U.S. Federal Communications Commission had its’ first vote to withdraw any government subsides from U.S. carriers that conduct business with ZTE or Huawei – if approved, a second vote would make it official.
Pentagon spokesperson Eastman stated that military personnel can buy ZTE or Huawei phones off-base, but advised them to be “mindful of the security risks.”
As I had warned back in January, there is potential for military personnel to be tracked (in that instance it was via smartwatch fitness apps) – combine that with a phone which may track you and share that information with foreign governments and that could easily result in compromised security for our men and women serving in the U.S. military. While a military ban will help, one can only wonder what other surprises foreign governments have up their sleeves….