Retail outlets with stores in US military bases have just been ordered to stop selling ZTE and Huawei devices. The order comes from the Department of Defense, who says that the use of these devices could pose a security risk.
Officials from the Pentagon believe that the Chinese government could order these two smartphone manufacturers to keep track of US soldiers’ movements or worse, spy on their communications. ZTE and Huawei, however, have denied that this was a possibility.
The ban for the sale of ZTE and Huawei devices does not extend to the personal use of these devices by military members. This is because there is no ban for this in place right now. The Pentagon, however, is still considering whether they should send out a military-wide advisory against the use of such devices.
In a statement sent to The Verge, Huawei responded to this ban by pointing out that their products are being sold in 170 countries throughout the world. They also ensure that each device has met the “highest standards of security, privacy and engineering in every country we operate globally including the US.”
The spokesperson for the company reiterated that they are committed to transparency and openness in whatever they do. He also pointed out that “no government has ever asked us compromise the security or integrity of any of our networks or devices.”
The newly appointed ban adds to the long-standing concern of the government over Chinese phones. Since December, the US government has been actively blocking Chinese tech companies to sell their products in the country. But despite this, there has been strong suspicion against these two companies as early as 2012; thanks to a report by the Congress Intelligence Committee. The report accused these two companies of failing to cooperate with their investigation and declining to elucidate their relationships with the Chinese government. It also alleged that Huawei practiced discrimination, corruption, and bribery.
In January, a bill was introduced aiming to ban these two manufacturers from US government contracts. Even though the bill has yet to advance, the government has been successful at blocking their entry into the US market. Just last month, ZTE faced an export ban on their parts after the US Commerce Department revived the issue of violating an agreement it entered. After this, the Justice Department set its sights on Huawei for the possible violation of sanctions against Iran.
Source: The Verge