U.S. intel chiefs emphatic: Don’t buy Chinese phones

by WorldTribune Staff, February 15, 2018

The directors of the CIA, FBI and NSA are recommending that U.S. citizens avoid buying smartphones from China’s tech giants, who may be “maliciously” modifying the phones.

The intelligence officials told the Senate Intelligence Committee that it was not a good idea for Americans to buy Huawei or ZTE smartphones.

FBI director Christopher Wray told the committee: “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.”

Related: House bill would prevent Pentagon’s use of Chinese or Russian telecom systems, June 27, 2017

Huawei has been keen to enter the U.S. market, including a failed attempt in which a proposed partnership with AT&T was called off.

Huawei responded to the intel chiefs by saying: “Huawei is aware of a range of U.S. government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei’s business in the U.S. market. Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities.”

Congress is currently considering legislation that would prevent the Pentagon from purchasing equipment or services from Chinese or Russian telecom firms.

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