Democratic National Committee (DNC) has warned candidates against using devices manufactured by either ZTE or Huawei due to the threat the pair pose to US national security.
With tensions on the rise between the US and China, both Huawei and ZTE are remaining under the spotlight. Some might suggest there is a genuine threat to national security, while others might believe escalating the Chinese menace is a useful way to distract from domestic debacles, though the reason is irrelevant. With each passing week there is another example of Huawei and ZTE disappearing in the US.
The report comes via Reuters, with a source stating Bob Lord, the Chief Security Officer for the DNC, sending an email to all candidates warning of the threat.
“Please make sure that you are not using or purchasing ZTE or Huawei devices anywhere within your staff – for personal or work-related use,” the email stated.
Although the anti-Chinese rhetoric has been common throughout the last few months, it has largely been restricted to government proclamations. With the opposition now jumping the boo-China bandwagon, the sentiment could become much more common through US society. It is also one of the first example where an official has ventured into the personal lives of employees, instead of just limiting the warning to work-related activities. It might not be too long before the prejudice rubs off on the man-on-the-street.
The apparent threat is due to the proximity of the two organizations to the Chinese government, thus escalating the prospect of espionage through devices and network equipment. Government influence in ZTE is quite apparent, Shenzhen Zhongxingxin Telecommunications Equipment, a Chinese state-owned corporation, is the controlling shareholder of ZTE, though Huawei is a bit more nuanced. Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei previously worked as a military technologist for the People’s Liberation Army, though Huawei is an employee owned organization with little-proved government intervention.
This is of course just another example of the US turning against the Chinese. ZTE is still on thin ice following the ban from using any US components or IP in its supply chain, both Huawei and ZTE have been banned from being sold on military sites, while distribution deals with US telcos also disintegrated due to political pressure. Both have also been banned from selling any networking equipment to any government agencies or departments.
The cards are beginning to stack up, and it is starting to look very feasible both could be banned from US shores completely before too long on the grounds of national security. It does seem Huawei has the same hunch as it was reported in April the vendor was working on its own alternative operating system to Android. Complications with its relationship with Google could mean the millions of Huawei devices around the world are regulated to door-stops.