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Top U.S. lawmakers and intelligence chiefs warn Americans of using Chinese smartphone Huawei

May 13, 2018  |  Posted by: Michael Falzarano
Top U.S. lawmakers and intelligence chiefs warn Americans of using Chinese smartphone Huawei Photo: Huawei

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Leading U.S. intelligence officials are warning Americans not to use products including smartphones made by Chinese technology companies Huawei and ZTE.

Top lawmakers and intelligence chiefs have warned of the Chinese government’s attempts to garner access to sensitive U.S. technologies, intellectual properties, and academic research through telecommunications companies, and joint business ventures.

The heads of all six U.S. Intelligence agencies including the NSA, CIA, FBI, and Director of National intelligence expressed their distrust of Chinese telecom company ZTE and tech giant Huawei during a closed-door hearing with the Senate Intelligence Committee back in February.

Furthermore, all six intelligence chiefs recommended private citizens not use products from the Chinese companies citing fear of spying.

Last year, Huawei briefly surpassed Apple as the 2nd biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world behind Samsung because of its immense popularity in the Asian market.

The Apple Rival had unveiled plans to release its Mate10 smartphone in the U.S. market using AT&T and Verizon as its carriers.

Huawei claims it’s Mate 10 Pro boasts support for the upcoming super-fast 5G network, which supports bandwidth needed for more complicated communications for self-driving vehicles and artificial intelligence.

However, the tech company suffered a massive setback after AT&T backed out of the deal at the last second due to reported blowback from Capitol Hill.

Verizon also followed suit and backed out of a deal with Huawei due to mounting political pressure.

Both carriers have previously sold Huawei product, but never with 5G capabilities.

The smartphone’s capabilities have prompted allaying concerns of spying by the U.S. government.

Intel officials fear a smartphone with 5G networking equipment manufactured in China could enable the Chinese government to gain access to US network activity through a backdoor.

China has long been accused of being the top perpetrator of intellectual property theft which has cost the U.S. economy billions in revenue and thousands of lost jobs.

Additionally, Huawei’s founder, a former engineer in China’s People’s Liberation Army has been described by intelligence agencies as “effectively an arm of the Chinese government.”

The distrust on the part of U.S. officials prompted a 2014 ban, prohibiting Huawei from bidding for US government contracts.

As a result, it is now causing difficulties for the company’s push into the U.S. market.

During February’s closed-door hearing on Capitol Hill, FBI Director Chris Wray said the U.S. government was “deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks.” Wray added the access would provide the Chinese government “the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.”

Huawei CEO Richard Yu bitterly responded last month to the spying allegations by accusing American carriers of depriving U.S. customers of a choice in the free market

Additionally, Huawei Spokesman told CNBC: ”Huawei is aware of a range of U.S. government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei’s business in the U.S. market. 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.”

ZTE also issued a statement on the comments, saying: “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. […] ZTE takes cyber-security and privacy seriously and remains a trusted partner to our US suppliers, US customers and the people who use our […] products.”

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