U.S. Intelligence Officials like FBI & CIA Warn Against Buying Huawei and ZTE Phones
U.S. intelligence agencies have issued a stern warning to Americans: Do not buy smartphones made by Chinese tech companies Huawei or ZTE.
The heads of CIA, FBI, NSA and the director of national intelligence expressed these concerns during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing late on Tuesday.
“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 was quoted as saying.
“It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage,” Wray added.
Huawei responded to the concerns in a statement, saying the company was aware of a range of US government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei’s business in the US 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,” the company said.
Chinese company Huawei has not made strides in the U.S. market in large part because of government concerns that the Chinese government can use its smartphones and other products for intelligence gathering.
In 2012, Congress released a report saying the two Chinese companies should be viewed “with suspicion.” The companies both strongly disputed the reports’ findings at the time, with Huawei calling them “baseless.”
“We operate in 170 countries where there is trust with governments and customers. We pose no greater cybersecurity risk than other vendors,” Huawei said.
The company insisted it “has never been asked to provide access to our technology, or provide any data or information on any citizen or organization to any government, or their agencies.”
US lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would ban government employees from using Huawei and ZTE smartphones.
“The focus of my concern is … Chinese telecoms like Huawei and ZTE … are widely understood to have extraordinary ties to the Chinese government,” Republican Senator Richard Burr, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was quoted as saying.
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