Chinese electronics have been all the rage around the world nowadays, and among the brands that rose to global prominence from the People’s Republic are telecom providers Huawei and ZTE. Their mobile devices have been touted as very effective for reasonable price ranges, and are often fallback options for buyers who feel they cannot afford an Apple iPhone or even a Samsung smartphone. Detractors of ZTE and Huawei however, warn that their phones and electronics covertly contain spying software utilized by the Chinese government. Acting on that presumption, the US government is banning their use by order of the President.
The Verge reports that President Donald Trump has signed on Monday, August 13, a new Defense Authorization Act to facilitate the appropriations needed for activities by the Departments of Defense and Energy for the year 2019. Part of the components for the act authored by Senator John McCain is the outright banning of the use of Huawei and ZTE mobile devices by the government and its various contractors. This is considered to be a more compromise measure compared to a June Senate amendment that would have strangled ZTE with a trade ban; it failed with the House of Representatives, however.
In specifics, no ZTE and Huawei tech may now be used by government personnel if they happen to be “essential” or “critical” to whatever communications systems they are in. Still, certain Huawei/ZTE components, so long as they do not route or view data, are still approved for government use. Of course, as a result of the ban certain agencies that would need to switch over from either or both of the Chinese brands. To help them in the changeover, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other branches will be tasked to provide funding for replacement tech when they are needed.
Of the two telecoms, Huawei was the first to respond to this development. An emailed statement had the company decrying their ban and the Defense Authorization Act that it was part of to be “ineffective, misguided, and unconstitutional”. Huawei warns that they plan to challenge their ban in US government use, insisting that there has been a failure on the latter’s part to “identify real security risks or improve supply chain security”. Both Huawei and ZTE devices have been saddled with the stigma of being “information-gathering” tools by China’s Communist government since the year 2012.
Image courtesy of Android Authority