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A New Bill Targets Huawei and ZTE Phones Over Cybersecurity Concerns

January 15, 2018, 9:05 AM UTC
Visitors use their mobile phone at the Huawei stand on the second day of the Mobile World Congress on February 28, 2017 in Barcelona. Phone makers will seek to seduce new buyers with artificial intelligence functions and other innovations at the world's biggest mobile fair starting today in Spain. / AFP / LLUIS GENE (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)
Lluis Gene—AFP/Getty Images

A new bill aims to bar U.S. government agencies from using Huawei (HUAWEI) and ZTE (ZTCOF) products amid concerns that the companies could share sensitive national security and corporate intellectual property data with the Chinese government.

The Defending U.S. Government Communications Act, was introduced by Representative Mike Conaway last week, the Verge reports.

“Chinese commercial technology is a vehicle for the Chinese government to spy on United States federal agencies, posing a severe national security threat,” Conaway said in a statement posted to his official website. Using Chinese-made telecommunications products “would be inviting Chinese surveillance into all aspects of our lives.”

The companies’ alleged ties to Chinese intelligence agencies were the subject of a 2012 House Intelligence Committee report, which concluded that “U.S. government systems, particularly sensitive systems, should not include Huawei or ZTE equipment, including in component parts.”

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The bill is the latest broadside against Huawei, whose planned partnership with AT&T (T) collapsed last week after lawmakers raised security questions with the Federal Trade Commission, Reuters reported.