Last week, Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE were accused of potentially spying for the Chinese government, with the US House Intelligence Committee recommending that both companies be avoided, and that acquisitions and mergers be blocked in the US. A couple days later, Canada reconsidered using Huawei as part of its upcoming government communications network due to the concerns expressed by US lawmakers. Now, according to a Reuter’s source, a White House review found no evidence that Huawei is spying.
A report by the US House Intelligence Committee states, “China has the means, opportunity, and motive to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes.” Both companies denied the claims, saying that they were not financed by the Chinese government or military, and that they were not spying for either. Huawei retorted that the accusations were baseless, and that the company “has a well-demonstrated track record of responsibly adhering to local laws and regulations in the markets in which it does business.” ZTE also offered a response, saying that it has “set an unprecedented standard for cooperation by any Chinese company with a congressional investigation.”
Two sources “familiar with the probe” told Reuters that the review had concluded that Huawei’s products were risky due to vulnerabilities that could prove favorable for hackers. What the review didn’t seem to find, however, was evidence that Huawei has engaged in espionage for China. Still, the sources did not say whether these vulnerabilities were intentional.
The White House inquiry involved reviewing reports of suspicious activity, and questioning almost 1,000 telecom equipment buyers. The While House declined commenting on the review. Huawei was a bit more vocal, however, stating that the lack of evidence for spying didn’t surprise the company.