Are Chinese smartphone makers secretly being employed by the Chinese government to spy on countries around the world, or in particular the US? Apparently that’s what six US intelligence agencies are claiming in which during a Senate Intelligence Committee, heads of the CIA, FBI, and NSA (amongst others) have warned against buying Huawei and ZTE phones.

According to FBI Director Chris Wray, “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. That provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure. It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.”

Huawei has since responded to these allegations in a statement which reads, “Huawei is aware of a range of U.S. government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei’s business in the U.S. market. Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities.”

This is actually not the first time that Huawei and ZTE have been accused of spying for the Chinese government. Huawei has been trying to break into the US market and was said to be on the cusp of a deal with AT&T and Verizon, until US lawmakers stepped in and urged the carriers not to go through with it.

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