Concerns have heightened at the Pentagon about consumer electronics being used to snoop on or track service members. Pentagon spokesman Major Dace Eastburn confirmed the decision in a statement released to the press.
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He said, "Huawei and ZTE devices may pose an unacceptable risk to military personnel, information and mission. In light of this information, it was not prudent for the Department's exchanges to continue selling them. Given security concerns about ZTE cell phones and related products, the Pentagon's exchange services also removed ZTE products from their stores.
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The Pentagon disclosed to go into the specific technical aspects of the potential threats posed by the devices, but the Wall Street Journal has reported that the Pentagon fears the Chinese government could track soldiers using Huawei or ZTE devices. Other Chinese companies such as Lenovo , Xiaomi and BBK owner of phone makers Oppo , Vivo and OnePlus don't have such clear government ties and haven't drawn the same amount of scrutiny from Western politicians. Australian and British authorities have similar concerns. The same could be said for Kaspersky antivirus software.
Nevertheless, there's no public evidence as of yet that Huawei or ZTE smartphones or other products will endanger the privacy or digital security of the ordinary U.
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Huawei also sells home Wi-Fi routers, laptops and smartwatches to American consumers. The truth is that every smartphone spies on you to some extent, and most Android smartphones have security flaws related to the platform's relatively open software model. And, well, other Chinese-made phones have been caught sending a suspicious amount of data back to servers in China, if only for commercial reasons. It may be that Huawei and ZTE phones do spy on their users, but so far, Western security experts haven't been able to find much evidence.
And it may be that more detailed information was disclosed by the agency chiefs in the closed Senate hearing, but if so, they're not making it public. Huawei was pretty notorious in recent years for industrial espionage, however.
Since , the company has been accused of stealing trade secrets from Cisco, Motorola and T-Mobile, resulting in a flurry of lawsuits and settlements. Huawei and ZTE have even accused each other of stealing secrets.
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Rob Graham, chief technology officer of Errata Security in Atlanta, told us that he doesn't know whether Huawei or ZTE phones would be risky for American consumers to use. But he suggested an American alternative, albeit one manufactured in China. As a publicly traded company, we are committed to adhering to all applicable laws and regulations of the United States, work with carriers to pass strict testing protocols, and adhere to the highest business standards.
Our mobile phones and other devices incorporate U. ZTE takes cybersecurity and privacy seriously and remains a trusted partner to our U. Tom's Guide.
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Image credit: Enemy of the state? The Huawei Mate 10 Pro in the hands of a suspected Chinese agent.
Image credit: Sen. Tom Cotton during Tuesday's hearing.
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Credit: U. Senate Cotton is the co-sponsor of a bill introduced last week that would ban the use of Huawei and ZTE products by government agencies or contractors.
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Bashing Huawei and ZTE is nothing new The shunning of Huawei and ZTE is reminiscent of the government's sudden crackdown last year on Kaspersky antivirus software , but it's actually been building for much longer. Unacceptable risk to governments But maybe not to you Nevertheless, there's no public evidence as of yet that Huawei or ZTE smartphones or other products will endanger the privacy or digital security of the ordinary U.
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