U.S. intelligence agencies have issued a stern warning to Americans: Do not buy smartphones made by Chinese tech companies Huawei or ZTE.
Top officials from the CIA, NSA, FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that the Chinese smartphone makers posed a security threat to American customers.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas asked the group to raise their hands if they would recommend private American citizens use products or services made by Apple competitor Huawei or smartphone maker ZTE. None of them did.
FBI Director Chris Wray explained why it is an issue for companies and local governments to use Huawei or ZTE products and services.
There is a risk of letting any company “beholden to foreign governments” inside the country’s telecommunications infrastructure, he said. Huawei is a global leader in networking equipment, and the government has previously blocked it from selling technology to some federal agencies.
“It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information,” Wray said. “And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.”
Huawei has not made strides in the U.S. market in large part because of government concerns that the Chinese government can use its smartphones and other products for intelligence gathering.
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SOURCE: CNN, Selena Larson