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Huawei and ZTE phones banned from military bases in the US

THE PENTAGON has ordered retail outlets on US military bases to stop selling Huawei and ZTE devices, over fears that the Chinese government could snoop on soldiers’ communications.

“Huawei and ZTE devices may pose an unacceptable risk to the department’s personnel, information and mission,” a Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. 

“In light of this information, it was not prudent for the department’s exchanges to continue selling them.”

The WSJ reports, citing an anonymous source, that military leaders are concerned that the Chinese government could order the firms to create backdoors in order to track soldiers’ movements or snoop on their communications, although both Huawei and ZTE have denied the possibility. 

While military members can still buy Huawei and ZTE phones for personal use, US officials last month warned American citizens not to use smartphones from the two Chinese companies.

Commenting on the military ban, a Huawei spokesperson said: “Huawei’s products are sold in 170 countries worldwide and meet the highest standards of security, privacy and engineering in every country we operate globally including the US.

Related: Huawei developing own Android and Windows 10 alternatives amid US tensions

“We remain committed to openness and transparency in everything we do and want to be clear that no government has ever asked us to compromise the security or integrity of any of our networks or devices.” 

This latest move by US officials comes as part of a wider crackdown on the two companies. Huawei recently saw ATT and Verizon back out of deals to flog its smartphones following pressure from the US government, which has reportedly forced the firm to axe staff “across the board” at is US-based headquarters.

Things have been even worse for ZTE, which was recently slapped with seven-year imports ban by the US Department of Commerce which means it can no longer by components from the likes of Dolby and Qualcomm and could cost the firm its Android licence

Here in Blighty, the National Cyber Security Centre has followed the US’ lead with a warning to UK telecoms firms to stop using equipment from ZTE. µ

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