During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday, the heads of six major U.S. intelligence agencies warned that American citizens shouldn’t use smartphones made by Chinese tech firms Huawei and ZTE. The recommendations, which are nothing new, came from a group that included the heads of the FBI, CIA, NSA, and the director of national intelligence and has to do with those firms close ties to the Chinese government.
“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 said during his testimony, according to a CNBC report. “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.”
When asked by a lawmaker during the hearing, all of those in attendance to testify said they would advise Americans to not use products or services from Huawei. The fears stem, mainly, from the fact that Huawei was founded by Ren Zhengfei, a former engineer in China’s People’s Liberation Army. It also doesn’t help that U.S. lawmakers often describe the company as “an arm of the Chinese government.”