Trump signs bill banning government use of Huawei and ZTE tech

Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Huawei and ZTE technology will largely be banned from use by the US government and government contractors. The ban was signed into placed by President Trump today as a component of the much larger Defense Authorization Act.

This caps off months of will-they-won’t-they from Republicans, many of whom view the two major Chinese telecoms as national security threats. In June, the Senate overwhelmingly passed an amendment that would have reinstated a trade ban on ZTE, potentially shutting down the company. The House, however, did not, and the big question was how the two chambers would find a compromise — or if they would drop the matter entirely.

In the end, Congress decided on a measure that will essentially ban the US government or anyone that wants to work with the US government from using components from Huawei, ZTE, or a number of other Chinese communications companies. The ban goes into effect over the next two years.

The ban covers the use of Huawei and ZTE components or services that are “essential” or “critical” to the system they’re used in. Some components from these companies are still allowed, so long as they cannot be used to route or view data. The bill also instructs several government agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission, to prioritize funding to assist businesses that will have to change their technology as a result of the ban.

In an emailed statement, Huawei called the ban a “random addition” to the defense bill that was “ineffective, misguided, and unconstitutional.” Huawei said the ban would increase costs for consumers and businesses, and that it failed to “identify real security risks or improve supply chain security.” Huawei didn’t immediately say that it would challenge the law.

It was unclear which direction Congress would go with this, particularly because Trump did not want to reinstate the trade ban on ZTE — and even worked to lift it. The Commerce Department has already negotiated a deal and lifted the ban, and it was unclear if Trump would sign a bill reversing those decisions.

Huawei and ZTE have long been in the crosshairs of US law- and policymakers. Both companies were called a national security threat by a 2012 House report, while heads of US security agencies have recommended against using both companies’ products. While this bill doesn’t outright ban either company from US infrastructure, it could have a major impact by forcing the many, many companies that want to work with the government to pick other suppliers and remove the Huawei and ZTE components they’re already using.


Didn’t he sing another bill that allowed them to continue doing business?

Just goes to show you — stop paying attention to Trump. It’s a distraction.

That was the XO he signed to life the ban. This will override an XO.

Two different issues: the BBC article talks about the ban on ZTE doing business in the US (at all) whereas this is about the use of ZTE and Huawei devices in government. This will allow those companies to trade with any private individual or company that wants to do so unless they also want to work for the government.

doesnt china also not allow apple

This is actually a bipartisan issue. It isn’t just Republicans, it’s Democrats also made a rule that won’t allow the use of either companies. There are many governments around the world doing the same thing. ZTE and Huawei have poorly designed security so they have barely plausible deniability when someone finds a maliciously designed back door to their products. It’s well known in the net-sec community that both companies are not secure.

"poorly designed security" if you think that the reason for the ban then you are an *
its banned because its a Chinese company

How can I put this … shutting the door on Huawei/ZTE was the right move regardless. If relations were better then the US gov’t might have figured it had more to lose (in terms of Chinese retaliation) vs what it stood to gain, but given all the Chinese military and commercial espionage, given their belligerence over the South China Sea and Taiwan, and given the current trade war going on, there was no obvious reason to hand them they keys to our network infrastructure also.

wait a minute i never said it wasnt the right move. It is the right move. just mentioned the reason for the ban and not some bs poor security in software

Specifically because they’re partly owned by the Chinese government. Otherwise Xiaomi and others would have fit the bill (no pun intended).

but xiaomi dont exist in the US so it might be because its Chinese company

its banned because its a Chinese company

And the first tinfoil hat comes out.

It’s not a conspiracy theory. They area Chinese company with serious security concerns. That is why they were targeted. Considering the known issues with Chinese espionage and their partial ownership of these companies it’s obvious them being Chinese was a factor.

Espionage and the CPC’s ownership of these companies was the factor, not the country of origin. The country of origin is tangential to the actual security risks.

They are the same thing in this case. Espionage is from the country of origin which is China.

Didn’t the Canadian Government invest or help out Blackberry when it was in financial troubles? So Blackberry has ties to the Canadian Government….. So those should be banned too.

you saying its not because they are Chinese company? do you even understand the meaning of tinfoil hat. what does my point have anything to do with it?

The xenophobia and ignorance never surprises.

I think you need to elaborate on that a bit. Are you referencing Lomifeh or apsted. Because you comment is very provocative in nature. Banning these companies from doing business within the DOD is not either of what you stated.

As others have noted, they arent the only Chinese OEMs with ‘bad security’, yet those others are not banned.

The fact that Huawei and ZTE are in the top 7 phone manufacturers in the world plays a role. Protect against security risks + protect the US market place against competition = win win.

This only focuses on government and government contractors. Huawei and ZTE have very close ties to the Chinese government and a track record of issues.

A lot of Android devices ship with insecurities and have poor patch records though – ZTE was clearly looked at for being so close to the CPC, not sure how comparatively close Huawei is.

Should normal American consumers avoid them as well? If you just want a decent phone or tablet are they still a viable option?

The way I look at it is even if they are legit, there are plenty of other options that don’t have a cloud hanging over them, so why not just avoid the rain, have piece of mind and buy a phone by a less unsavory company?

I mean with all the risks already associated with smart phone security, is it really worth saving a few bucks to possibly add more on top of it?

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