US consumers warned by government not to use Huawei or ZTE phones

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence heard from six top officials of the nation’s intelligence agencies that they would discourage consumers from buy products from Huawei or ZTE.

“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 Christopher Wray testified.

The Director of National Intelligence as well as directors of the CIA, NSA, DIA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency participated in the hearing with Wray.

Prior investigations into Huawei and ZTE have found each company in violation of United States trade sanctions or cybersecurity trust through their telecoms business. A recently leaked document from a National Security Council official showed that the administration was considering the nationalization of the upcoming 5G network to block any Chinese telecom equipment from entering into the domain. The White House walked back the report.

With a ruthless cyberespionage and censorship regime, China and Russia are currently considered to be the largest threats to cybersecurity.

Huawei provided this statement to 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 USA reached out to Pocketnow to give this statement:

ZTE is proud of the innovation and security of our products in the US market. 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. Our mobile phones and other devices incorporate US-made chipsets, US-made operating systems and other components. ZTE takes cybersecurity and privacy seriously and remains a trusted partner to our US suppliers, US customers and the people who use our high quality and affordable products for their communications needs.

Legislators purportedly urged AT&T to drop out of an agreement with Huawei to carry its Mate 10 Pro handset this year. A similar deal with Verizon was also apparently scuttled.

Update: The story has been updated with a statement from ZTE USA.

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.