US Intelligence has conducted an 11-month investigation into Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE, concluding that both should be shut out of the US market.
In a document, drafted by the US House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee, both Huawei and ZTE are said to pose a serious espionage threat, both to individual consumers' privacy and to the national security of the US.
"(Huawei and ZTE) cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems," the document reads.
It’s unclear from the document whether the report is referring to handsets – a growing sector for both Chinese companies – or simply routers and other telecoms equipment of which Huawei and ZTE recognised global manufacturers.
Huawei, as might have been expected, reacted angrily to the document releasing the following statement to Reuters:
"Baseless suggestions otherwise or purporting that Huawei is somehow uniquely vulnerable to cyber mischief ignore technical and commercial realities, recklessly threaten American jobs and innovation, do nothing to protect national security, and should be exposed as dangerous political distractions from legitimate public-private initiatives to address what are global and industry-wide cyber challenges."
ZTE too has since responded to the document - due to be released today - saying it should not be the sole focus of any investigation.
"ZTE should not be a focus of this investigation to the exclusion of the much larger Western vendors," the company wrote in a letter to the US committee.
While relations between the US and China have been problematic in the past, it will be interesting to see what a blanket ban for Huawei and ZTE products would mean for the UK. Would we follow suit?
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