What just happened? It’s no secret that the US government doesn’t trust Huawei. Devices from both it and fellow Chinese firm ZTE are banned from American agencies and contractors, but a new report claims the Trump administration doesn’t want to stop there–it’s trying to persuade telecom companies in allied countries to avoid using the firm’s equipment.
According to the Wall Street Journal, US officials have reached out to their counterparts in countries where Huawei’s telecom equipment is in widespread use to warn them about what the US has long seen as a cybersecurity risk. These include Germany, Italy, and Japan, which are home to American military bases.
The US government has been issuing warnings about the perceived security threats posed by Huawei since 2012. Back in February, bosses from six US intelligence agencies said using a telecoms device from the company could put you at risk of having personal data accessed or stolen—a result of its alleged close ties with the Chinese government.
In August, President Trump signed the Defense Authorization Act, which bans US government agencies and contractors from using certain tech from Huawei and other Chinese companies.
Citing anonymous people familiar with the matter, the WSJ said the US might offer countries an incentive to shun Huawei by boosting their financial aid for telecoms development.
Huawei, which was founded by former People's Liberation Army engineer Ren Zhengfei, recently moved past Apple to become the world’s second-largest smartphone seller—it’s already the world’s largest producer of telecoms equipment. Despite these distinctions, US officials have constantly warned Americans not to use its products, Australia has banned the company from supplying parts for a 5G mobile network, and it has faced criticism in the UK over potential threats to national security.