CNBC is reporting the six top US intelligence agency directors are cautioning Americans from purchasing phones from Chinese telecom giant Huawei:
The six — including the heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA and the director of national intelligence — first expressed their distrust of Apple-rival Huawei and fellow Chinese telecom company ZTE in reference to public servants and state agencies.
When prompted during the hearing, all six indicated they would not recommend private citizens use products from the Chinese companies.
“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,” FBI Director Chris Wray testified.
“That provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure,” Wray said. “It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.”
Huawei, much like ZTE, is so close to the Chinese government they almost appear to be a quasi-government agency, even though the companies would claim otherwise. However, the same could be said for US telecom giants Verizon and AT&T. Both of the latter companies have such a cozy relationship with the US government they can pretty much get away with doing the governments bidding without any fear of reprisal.
On the one hand, it is understandable for the US intelligence agencies to recommend avoiding Chinese technology providers. On the other hand, what happens when governments across the globe start recommending their citizens avoid US technology giants like Apple, Google, and others?
This seems like a slippery slope to travel.