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US Congressional Committee Requests Ban Of Huawei & ZTE Products

Eric McBride
10

 

The word “ban” is something that pops up way too often in the Android world lately, but todays “b word” comes with a twist. This request for a ban on Huawei & ZTE, which are both Chinese manufacturers of some solid Android devices, doesn’t come from Apple or any Android OEM, but straight from the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee. That’s right folks. A US congressional committee has requested that Huawei and ZTE be banned from operating in the United States due to security threats and alleged spying.

Wowzers. The committee came to the conclusion that both of these companies should not be permitted to conduct business with US firms and government, and also said that they should be barred from any form of mergers or acquisitions as well. They even stated that private US corporations should be discouraged from working with them. Pretty heavy stuff right?

This could definitely have a huge impact on future growth for both companies. Huawei is currently the 2nd largest telecoms equipment vendor in the world, with ZTE being the fifth largest. I have personally tested some pretty impressive Huawei and ZTE phones, and it’s kind of a bummer that politics could keep companies that are producing promising devices from reaching their full potential. That being said, the reasoning behind the requested ban is a lot bigger than Android, as both companies have very close relationships with the Chinese government, and have often been accused of spying for them with their equipment.

Yikes.

Both companies have denied the rumors so far, and Huawei has stated that the committee wasn’t taking “technical and commercial realities” into consideration. 

Picture credits: engadget.com

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Comments

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  • Atlas Oct 8, 2012 Link

    They ban Chinese products for whatever reason, the Chinese start banning US products and the chain continues.

    I wonder how much of an act of protectionism this is, instead of security measures.

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  • John A Oct 8, 2012 Link

    I think I am missing the issue, but aren't most devices manufactured outside the US anyway?

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  • Ilgaz Oct 8, 2012 Link

    If I get it right, Huawei Android phones are entirely open source and funnily, most of parts they use are made by American companies with deep military ties such as qualcomm.
    So, please, what is spying in this case?

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  • Patrick R. Oct 9, 2012 Link

    This issue also came up in my country. To be fair it would be very difficult to determine what the code in a device's firmware actually does. We just blindly trust Google, its OEMs and Apple with our private data including credit card numbers. Considering how aggresive China is with its South East Asian neighbors - all allies or with treaties with the US - I understand the paranoia. Although in the PH our Congress is seeking to regulate and secure equipment used by Telcos not handsets. I wouldn't say their fears are baseless considering how much the Chinese Government controls almost everything over there.

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  • Anna F. Oct 9, 2012 Link

    No! Not Huawei!! I was thinking about getting a Huawei phone in the future! On second thought, I don't live in the USA and this ban won't affect European markets right?

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  • Patrick R. Oct 9, 2012 Link

    Anna, i think its only the US and countries in a territorial dispute with China (i think that's the PH and Japan so far) that is considering this.

    Also, additionally, I am sure if Samsung were a NORTH Korean firm instead of being based in South Korea, their handsets and other electronic equipment would under go the same amount of scrutiny over the same concerns.

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  • Eric McBride Oct 9, 2012 Link

    @Atlas - I wondered the exact same thing myself. Thing is, we'll never know the answer to that.

    @John - They are. It's simply because the US believes that China is trying to spy on them.

    @Ilgaz - Most phones are made somewhere oversees with an American company paying them to manufacture their products. The spying accusations come from the US government, as they think that China is trying to spy on the US.

    @Patrick - Thats a good point. I mean, I guess there are ways of determining how "safe" the firmware from these devices is, but as you said, their must be some reasons we don't know about to spark this entire action. And like you said, if Sammy were from NORTH Korea, it would be an entirely different ballgame all together.

    Anna - Shouldn't affect Europe at all, unless of course the EU decides to follow suit (which I doubt they will).

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  • Dennis Nilsson Oct 9, 2012 Link

    Worth of note is that all U.S companies are obligied to follow a Surveillance law for telecommunications called CALEA (Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act).

    Please learn more here: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/calea

    If you are a telecommunications company and wants to deliver equipment to U.S you are obligied to deliver equpiment with "backdoors". Nearly all of our worlds countries have similar laws. :-/

    Example: CALEA tells Cisco that they must have "backdoors!

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  • Patrick R. Oct 10, 2012 Link

    @Dennis, very interesting point you have there. If these Chinese OEMs are indeed obliged to incorporate backdoors in their firmware and make it available to government agencies what's gonna stop them from making them available to the Chinese government.

    Spy sattelites, drones and high flying surveillance planes might be the in thing now but maybe the future of surveillance and intelligence is in fact mobile devices... like that batman movie with Morgan Freeman's bat sonar thing. #conspiracytheory #baselessparanoia - or is it? haha

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  • CJ Brown Oct 10, 2012 Link

    Its seems like the republi-tard tea party politicians are attempting to cease the sale of Chinese Co owned (& manufactured) Smart Phones - which is pure ignorance since 99% of what is sold @ Walmart isn't made in America!

    Personally? I tested a few "no contract" Huawei and ZTE Android Smart phones before I settled on my HTC Droid Incredible. Both Huawei and ZTE now have some impressive 4G LTE Android Smart Phones that are not available in the US No Contract market (which is a shame as direct competition only forces HTC & Samsung to make better No Contract Android Smart Phones) ...

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