Two senators have introduced a bill that would prohibit the U.S. government from contracting with companies that use equipment or services from Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE.
Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who are both on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said they are proposing the bill because of concerns that the companies enable Chinese espionage. The legislation is a companion to a bill proposed in the House by Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, last month.
“Huawei is effectively an arm of the Chinese government, and it’s more than capable of stealing information from U.S. officials by hacking its devices,” Cotton said in a press release. “There are plenty of other companies that can meet our technology needs, and we shouldn’t make it any easier for China to spy on us.”
In 2012, the House Intelligence Committee released an investigative report that alleged that Huawei and ZTE have ties to the Chinese government could that allow it to spy on the U.S. through the companies’ technology.
“For national security reasons, we cannot allow a foreign adversary to embed their technology in U.S. government systems or critical infrastructure.” Rubio said in the release.
Several outlets reported in January that U.S. government pressure led AT&T and Verizon to drop deals with Huawei to sell the company’s new Mate 10 Pro, a competitor to the iPhone. Huawei and ZTE have repeatedly denied having ties to the Chinese government or Communist Party that enable espionage.
You can read the Cotton-Rubio bill here: