Close on the heels of AT&T and Verizon’s decision to not sell Huawei handsets, now US intelligence agencies have warned against the use of devices from Huawei and ZTE. (See: Is It End Of the Road For Huawei In The US; Here’s Why AT&T Deal was Crucial To Its Plans To Lead Global Smartphone Market.)
Media reports say that the heads of CIA, FBI, NSA and the director of national intelligence expressed these concerns recently. “We’re 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,” FBI Director Chris Wray is quoted as saying.
Huawei issued a statement saying that it was trusted by Governments and customers in more than 170 countries. “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,” the company said.
Huawei has been facing challenging times in the US for many years. It was not allowed to sell telecom gear in the US for many years and recently AT&T walked away from the deal of selling Huawei handsets to its subscribers. US administration is believed to be working on a bill prohibiting Government employees from using Huawei and ZTE branded handsets and devices.
The main concern is that Huawei and ZTE have strong ties with the Chinese Government. It is for this reason that the Indian Government had also prohibited the sale of their equipment in India. This ban was later lifted. US is one of the biggest markets and Huawei has been trying to make its presence felt in this market for many years now.
It is not one way street though. American firms, including Apple, Twitter, Google, and Facebook, continue to either face ban or rough weather in China.