Intel Officials Warn Against Chinese-Made Phones Because Of Foreign Surveillance

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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People, companies, and other entities should be highly wary of using smartphones made by Chinese firms, according to several U.S. senators and top intelligence officials.

Speaking at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Tuesday, the heads of the CIA, the NSA, and the FBI, as well as the director of national intelligence, all spoke about the potential dangers of owning or using a mobile device from foreign tech giants Huawei — an Apple competitor — and ZTE.

“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,” FBI Director Chris Wray testified, according to CNBC. “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.”

While the compelling advisement came from almost all of the highest national security and intelligence figures, it’s not the first time a U.S. official has spoken out.

Multiple U.S. lawmakers strongly requested that AT&T, one of the world’s largest wireless carriers, to cut all commercial ties with Huawei, according to Reuters. They also wanted AT&T to push back against a planned entry by a Chinese telecom operator in the American market. (RELATED: Huawei Exec Detained On Bribery Suspicions)

Still, with the latest hearing, the amount of advocating against Chinese tech firms, especially in the telecommunications sphere, has grown to another level of urgency.

And Chinese tech in America isn’t the only aspect of the adversarial relationship that worries analysts and U.S. officials. Chinese tech in their own country, specifically the development and implementation of 5G, the next generation of wireless technology, is a concern for many because if it beats America to the punch, it could reap the massive economic benefits that will inevitably come in the process.

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