Jane Andrew looks at US concerns with ZTE and Huawei
ZTE and Huawei, considered among the Who’s Who of China’s telecom giants, have become the cause of apprehension for the US congress as concerns over their actions being detrimental to US national security mount. The duo has had to explain their connection with the Chinese government to another duo of US congressmen, as the telecom business hides in the garb of mobile phone spyware. Republicans Mike Rogers and C.A ‘Dutch’ Ruppersberger had the companies under the interrogation gun as they questioned the pair’s ‘interactions and relationships’ with regards to the government agencies of China. These agencies include the Chinese National Defence Ministry and their Ministry of State Security.With mobile phone spyware becoming increasingly common with every passing day, the menace surrounding the malware and its practice is also escalating.
Hence, any telecommunication work or firm would be under the scrutiny gun regardless of whether it is actually clean or not.
And considering the fact that both ZTE and Huawei ostensibly have links with the Chinese government – China being the single biggest rival for the USA in a multitude of realms – connotes that both these companies would have to be answerable for a lot more than what they wanted on their respective plates.
Both companies cooperated during a committee investigation and so the committee is hopeful of digging out more information with regards to the Chinese government’s influence.
The expansion of Huawei and ZTE into the USA concern the Congressmen who have iterated, time and again, the need to get to the bottom of this issue before these Chinese companies further penetrate the American market.
The lawmakers have sent a letter to the Huawei executives earmarking the Communist Party committee of the company as their biggest source of concern, and citing its undue influence on business operations as the locus of their questions.
The letter has also demanded a list of the company’s US contracts and asked them about the funding that the Chinese government provides for development and research. The letter also asked about Ren Zhengfei’s – the founder of Huawei – military career.
Another letter was sent to ZTE, who were asked about the $15 million loan that China Development Bank gave them, citing it as ‘favourable’.
The connexion with the Chinese government was questioned in this letter as well. ZTE’s statement in May that it had no knowledge of incidents regarding cyber security was also scrutinized.
There were also questions about other companies vying to monitor employees of ZTE to dig out their intellectual property.
It is not particularly difficult to monitor employees with the plethora of mobile phone spyware available. Even so, monitoring employees is not the sole route to extracting data; a wide array of spyware is available to cater to the hackers’ needs.
The response of the Chinese companies was mixed as best, with Huawei not responding to the request for comments, while ZTE merely reiterating its commitment to transparency, candidness and cooperation during the inquiry.
Considering the rising security concerns, and the concerns about Chinese government’s undue influence, both the telecom giants need to come out with their defence sooner rather than later.
Jane Andrew is a writer and guest blogger of mobistealth with years of experience in tech industry. She loves to write about mobile phone spyware and employee monitoring software. You can also follow her on Twitter @janeandrew01 to get tips and news about mobile phone.