Home » Tech News » Citing risks but no evidence, US intel chiefs warn against using Huawei, ZTE phones

Citing risks but no evidence, US intel chiefs warn against using Huawei, ZTE phones

Video: China’s 10 best-selling smartphones

Paranoia will destroy us


Why Chinese tech isn’t spying on Americans

The notion that the Chinese government would spy on corporations and our agencies with electronic devices manufactured by Chinese companies is not only absurd but would be catastrophic to furthering their ambitions in world trade.

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Huawei is in third place in global smartphone market share, with very little US influence, and after yesterday’s briefing by the heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA, and the director of national intelligence to the Senate Intelligence Committee, it is unlikely Huawei will be able to count on US consumers to help grow that market share.

Read also: Despite the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, smartphone sales just ran out of steam

The US intelligence chiefs first referenced US government employees and state agencies in the briefing, but then they expanded concerns to private citizens and recommended we not use products from Huawei and ZTE. As a US military veteran and man who bleeds red, white, and blue, I’m willing to give up on such products — provided there is actual evidence of nefarious activity. So far, none has surfaced.

FBI Director Chris Wray offered this non-answer as to why these agencies are making the recommendation:

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. That provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure. It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.

It appears that these agencies believe Huawei and ZTE have the capacity to perform active spying, but there continues to be no evidence that either company currently is carrying out such actions. ZDNet’s Jason Perlow recently made a clear argument that such paranoia may have major impacts on world trade.

Read also: AI will transform smartphones into ‘intelligent phones’: Huawei

It was believed that Huawei would announce the Mate 10 Pro coming from AT&T at CES 2018, but instead, we ended up with an unlocked phone promoted by Wonder Woman. ZTE, on the other hand, has several phones currently sold by US carriers.

In response to the statements made by the US government, Huawei said it “poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor.” During the CES keynote, Huawei focused on security, privacy, and trust, confirming it is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries. In other words, Huawei denies it is planning to perform any nefarious activities in the US.

Read also: Does the iPhone still matter? Huawei, not Apple, now drives the mobile conversation

If you are truly concerned about phones made in China, I put together this gallery of 10 smartphones not made in China for you to consider. As for myself, I will continue to use the Huawei Mate 10 Pro until there is evidence that shows I should be concerned.

Previous and related coverage

Made in China: Four horsemen of the iPhone apocalypse

Today it’s the $100 value handset. Tomorrow it will be the $200 premium smartphone. There’s nothing left for the traditional device OEMs with those kind of margins. Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi and Lenovo are coming, and Apple and Samsung can’t stop them.

Huawei’s next smartphone challenge: Navigating Trump-China relations

With President Trump’s recent tough talk on trade, can Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE achieve the success predicted for Chinese manufacturers?


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