U.S. intelligence officials tell Americans not to use Huawei or ZTE smartphones

  • U.S. intelligence officials tell Americans not to use Huawei or ZTE smartphones

U.S. intelligence officials tell Americans not to use Huawei or ZTE smartphones

The chiefs of the CIA, FBI, NSA, and director of national intelligence said that they would not advise Americans to buy smartphones from Chinese based companies for reasons of national security and privacy. Wray expressed concern that such companies could gain a position of power within the nation's telecommunication system.

Wray also said the phones could be used to "maliciously modify or steal information" and "to conduct undetected espionage".

Huawei has not made strides in the USA market in large part because of government concerns that the Chinese government can use its smartphones and other products for intelligence gathering.

"We pose no greater cybersecurity risk than other vendors", Huawei said. "It obtained information about the workings of the giant routers and complex digital switches that Huawei boasts connect a third of the world's population, and monitored communications of the company's top executives".

The spokesperson added that the company has implemented a string of security measures to protect consumers and that it is constantly aware of, and works within, U.S. laws.

"This is a challenge I think that is only going to increase, not lessen over time for us", NSA director Adm. Michael Rogers said, according to CNBC.

Cotton introduced a bill last week that would prohibit the government from contracting with companies that use Huawei or ZTE products. Indeed, a number of wireless operators sell smartphones from ZTE, and unlocked Huawei phones are available for sale on Amazon and other stores.

Don't trust the Chinese - that seemed to be the theme at Tuesday's open US Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on Capitol Hill.

Such accusations were the subject of a US House of Representatives investigation in 2012 which found, among other things, that US private sector entities are "strongly encouraged to consider the long-term security risks associated with doing business with either ZTE or Huawei for equipment or services".

In 2014 U.S. did officially banned Huawei Products but Huawei chose to launch its mate-10 pro phone in collaboration with AT&T.

In January, U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, proposed a bill to ban all government agencies from purchasing equipment or services from Huawei and ZTE, anxious that any usage of Huawei and ZTE equipment "would be inviting Chinese surveillance into all aspects of our lives". Fintech firm Ant Financial's plan to acquire USA money transfer company MoneyGram International was rejected by the U.S. government's panel in Jan due to "national security concerns".

USA lawmakers are now considering a bill that would ban government employees from using Huawei and ZTE smartphones. Unlike many online publications, we don't have a paywall or run banner advertising, because we want to keep our journalism open, without influence or the need to chase traffic. The phone has not even launched yet in the US.