“Do not use Huawei or ZTE phones” — CIA, FBI and NSA warns US citizens￼
Up to six major US intelligence agencies have issued a warning to citizens not to buy or use products and services manufactured by Chinese technology giants Huawei and ZTE. The reason? The link between the Chinese government and the technological giants.
This recommendation comes from the directors of agencies such as the FBI, the CIA, the NSA or the national intelligence director. As explained by Chris Wray, the head of the FBI:
“The government is deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity committed to foreign governments that do not share our values to acquire positions of power within our telecommunications networks. This can provide the ability to modify or steal information, and the ability to perform espionage.”
Actually, the warnings are not entirely new. The intelligence agencies have long distrusted Huawei, founded by a former engineer of the People’s Liberation Army of China, and often described by US politicians as ” an effective arm of the Chinese government .” In fact, it led to a ban on Huawei’s bidding for US government contracts in 2014.
Recall that in September last year Huawei surpassed Apple as the second largest smartphone maker in the world, just behind Samsung, but has never been able to penetrate the lucrative US market.
As we explained a few weeks ago, the company’s plans to enter with its Mate 10 Pro model through operators in the United States was canceled at the last moment due to government pressure.
In addition, US lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit government employees from using Huawei and ZTE phones. As explained by Republican Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, ” the focus of my concern today is China, and specifically Chinese telecommunications such as Huawei and ZTE, which is understood to have extraordinary links with the Chinese government .”
By the way, Huawei has responded on CNBC explaining that it does not represent a bigger cybersecurity risk than any other ICT provider.
“We know of the activities of the United States government designed to inhibit our business in its market. Governments and customers in 170 countries around the world trust Huawei and it does not represent a greater risk of cybersecurity than any other ICT provider,” Huawei said.