US Intelligence officials agreed that Huawei and ZTE pose security threats to US customers.
It’s not fake news. This time, US intelligence actually does agree, and this time, it’s about two specific Chinese phone manufacturers. Both Huawei and ZTE were called out as security threats by top officials from the CIA, NSA, FBI, and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
What’s the problem? The manufacturers are seen as having strong ties with the Chinese government. While this testimony is new, the underlying issue is not. A Congressional report was released in 2012 advising that these companies should be viewed “with suspicion”.
Speaking of using products from the companies, FBI Director Christopher Wray explained, “It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.”
Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas has introduced a bill which would prohibit government contracts with any companies that utilize Huawei or ZTE products.
This comes at an extraordinarily bad time for Huawei who is readying to release their new device, the Mate 10 Pro in the US. and just having had some shady review tactics discovered. Huawei already lost it’s attempt to have it’s phone sold in AT&T after reported government pressure on AT&T.
Huawei has responded in a statement, “Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities,” likewise from ZTE, “As a publicly traded company, we are committed to adhering to all applicable laws and regulations of the United States, work with carriers to pass strict testing protocols, and adhere to the highest business standards.”