About a month ago, I published a post titled Huawei & ZTE, the New Lenovo and Kaspersky? It appears that the answer is yes, at least in terms of suspicion on the part of the US intelligence community.
This is not new news, however with Huawei set to begin shipping it’s first device in the US market in just a few days, the warnings are getting louder and stronger.
Just this week, the heads of the three major US intelligence agencies, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and National Security Agency (NSA), all testified on Capitol Hill and issued a dire warning: do not buy a Huawei phone. Several members of the Senate committee before which the leaders testified, echoed their concerns and warning.
ZTE are actively cooperating with the Chinese government to use these devices to spy on US businesses and citizens. There has been no proof offered in the public domain and both companies firmly deny the allegations. However, testimony and comments from these leaders and multiple elected officials send a strong message that there may be evidence that is not yet public.
These new smartphones get very good reviews in terms of their technical capabilities and user experience. That’s a shame given the allegations, which are likely to limit their penetration in the US and other markets. There will surely be several who purchase devices from these companies, not knowing of these concerns. I’m sure that is why we are seeing stronger and more frequent statements on the matter now that the US launch of these devices is upon us.
This is just another example of how complex choosing and using technology is becoming for us all. Concerns around how governments are using technology companies to further their interests and disrupt other societities has been proven to be a very real threat, so do your homework before you invest in new technology.