Data Centre

Networks

US Senate mulls giving Huawei and ZTE the Kaspersky treatment

Now both halves of Congress consider banning Chinese goliaths' tech within govt

By Shaun Nichols in San Francisco

30 SHARE

Both halves of the US Congress are now mulling draft laws that would ban American government workers from using phones, network switches and other gear built by Chinese communications giants ZTE and Huawei.

Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Little Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced this week Senate bill 2391, which would prohibit Uncle Sam's agencies from either purchasing or leasing hardware and services made by ZTE, Huawei, and any of their subsidiaries or affiliates.

"Huawei is effectively an arm of the Chinese government, and it's more than capable of stealing information from US officials by hacking its devices," Cotton roared in unveiling the bill. "There are plenty of other companies that can meet our technology needs, and we shouldn't make it any easier for China to spy on us."

Rubio added: "Chinese telecom companies, like Huawei, are directly linked to the Chinese government and communist party. For national security reasons, we cannot allow a foreign adversary to embed their technology in US government systems or critical infrastructure."

The bill comes as the US government takes a long, hard look at its IT suppliers and their affiliations with foreign powers. Russian antivirus maker Kaspersky was last year banished from Uncle Sam's PCs over fears it is closely linked to the Kremlin, and that it may be acting as a conduit for Putin's spies into sensitive networks. It didn't help that an NSA staffer took home classified security exploits, which were copied to Kaspersky's cloud by antimalware tools on his Windows PC. Kaspersky denies any impropriety.

Huawei and ZTE, known to be closely associated with China's government, have long been subject to increased scrutiny. Both have denied accusations of working on behalf of Beijing's super-snoops.

This Senate bill will take things a step further by freezing both companies out of Washington DC entirely. The draft legislation is twinned with a House bill introduced last month. That paperwork, backed by Rep Mike Conaway (R-TX), is being considered by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Both bills have to survive their respective committee and voting stages before being combined and sent to President Trump to sign, if they are to make it into the law books. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

30 Comments

More from The Register

Huawei exec out of jail, just as US accuses China of Marriott hack

Tensions continue to build between two countries

China tells Trump to use a Huawei phone to avoid eavesdroppers

Great selfies too, Donald

Huawei or the highway: Chinese giant whacks marketing drones for tweeting from iPhone

Ooo, that pesky firewall!

Funnily enough, China fuming, senator cheering after Huawei CFO cuffed by Canadian cops at Uncle Sam's request

Beijing demands US 'correct' Meng detainment pronto

'Year-long' delay to UK 5G if we spike Huawei deals, say telcos

O2 presses on with Chinese supplier

France wants in on the No Huawei Club while Canuck infosec bloke pretty insistent on ban

Founder warns that 'mediocre employees' may have to go

Poland may consider Huawei ban amid 'spy' arrests – reports

Chinese hardware biz faces more push-back in Western nations

Huawei CFO poutine cuffs by Canadian cops after allegedly busting sanctions on Iran

Exec could face trial in the US for 'cutting deals' with White House's Middle East bête noire

Huawei wins patent injunction against Samsung in China

All in all it's just another brick in the patent wall

Huawei's horror show 2019 continues as Taiwanese research institute joins banhammer club

Also: US Commerce Dept blocks export of tech developed by Silicon Valley subsidiary