US Lawmakers Warn AT&T To Sever Ties To Chinese Tech Company Over National Security Concerns

Eric Lieberman | Deputy Editor

U.S. lawmakers worried about a prominent Chinese smartphone manufacturer are reportedly warning AT&T against potential business ties with the foreign company over national security concerns.

The officials notified other domestic-based companies in general that any commercial deals with Huawei or China Mobile, a telecommunication operator, may harm their respective ability to do business with the U.S. government, according to Reuters.

The apprehensiveness is three-pronged, if not more multi-faceted.

Along with the concern that mass use of Chinese technology could have national security implications, senators and other legislators also specifically worry that AT&T is unduly working with Huawei in developing standards for 5G, the next generation of wireless technology. Many fear that China could beat the U.S. to full-scale implementation of 5G networks, possibly causing America to lose out on the next biggest economic booster.

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The lawmakers are also troubled with Cricket, AT&T’s subsidiary, and its use of Huawei handsets, according to Reuters.

The U.S. government has been steadily pushing back against Chinese firms, mainly telecommunication ones, in relatively recent years and months, just as China has been doing the same for American tech companies like Facebook and Google. (RELATED: Exec At World’s Third-Largest Smartphone Maker Detained On Bribery Suspicions)

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence probed Huawei, as well as China’s ZTE Corp, for example, and published an investigative report in 2012 summarizing their findings and providing recommendations.

“The United States should view with suspicion the continued penetration of the U.S. telecommunications market by Chinese telecommunications companies,” one recommendation reads. “The United States Intelligence Community (IC) must remain vigilant and focused on this threat. The IC should actively seek to keep cleared private sector actors as informed of the threat as possible.”

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Tags : att house permanent select committee on intelligence huawei
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