Republican lawmakers raise security, privacy concerns over Huawei cloud services

Republican lawmakers raise security, privacy concerns over Huawei cloud services
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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherChina denies it tested missile, says it was space vehicle Biden slips further back to failed China policies Lawmakers using leadership PACs as 'slush funds' to live lavish lifestyles: report MORE (R-Wis.) are raising concerns around U.S. and foreign governments' potential use of Chinese telecommunications group Huawei’s cloud services, warning of security and privacy issues. 

Cotton and Gallagher sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Nearly 200 Americans want to leave Afghanistan, State Department tells Congress Syria's challenge to Tony Blinken's conscience MORE on Wednesday detailing their concerns around the use of Huawei cloud services in over 40 countries due to the access it gives the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to systems, and urging Blinken to ensure that the use of these services does not expand any further. 

“Huawei Cloud’s e-Government services promise to help countries streamline document digitization, tax services, national ID systems, elections, and more,” the lawmakers wrote. “However, they also expose Huawei’s clients to the prying eyes of the CCP. When Huawei’s client is a private firm, every one of its customers is at risk.”


“When Huawei’s client is a country, its entire population and political structure sits in the crosshairs,” they wrote. 

Cotton and Gallagher alleged that the use of Huawei products by foreign governments could leave the personal data of U.S. personnel working with these governments open to the Chinese government. They stressed that “such an outcome could severely disadvantage U.S. diplomatic, intelligence, and economic efforts and must be resisted accordingly.” 

The lawmakers pushed Blinken for answers on whether the Biden administration planned to continue the Clean Network program kick started by former Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoObama looks to give new momentum to McAuliffe The CIA's next mission: Strategic competition with China and Russia Biden, Trump tied in potential 2024 match-up: poll MORE, which was aimed at protecting data from foreign adversaries, such as China. 

They also pressed Blinken on efforts undertaken by the Biden administration to prevent the use of Huawei cloud products by other governments, and whether the administration was offering alternatives. 

“We must combat Huawei as a whole and target each of the company’s commercial units, including their 5G, cloud services, mobile-phone, and underwater cable businesses,” Cotton and Gallagher wrote. 

A State Department spokesperson declined to comment on the letter. A Huawei spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment, but Huawei has repeatedly denied posing a threat in recent years. 

Huawei has been under intense scrutiny for years, and was added to the Commerce Department’s “entity list” under the Trump administration over espionage concerns, effectively blacklisting the company. 

The Federal Communications Commission formally designated Huawei as a national security threat last year, and former President TrumpDonald TrumpGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Super PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE signed into law legislation banning the use of federal funds to purchase Huawei equipment. 

The Biden administration is still weighing how it will approach Huawei, though Commerce Secretary Gina RaimondoGina RaimondoCommerce Department announces first round of awards for American Rescue Plan programs Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — US cracks down on tools for foreign hacking Commerce Department cracks down on sale of hacking products to foreign governments MORE told reporters in April that she had “no reason to believe” that Huawei would be removed from the entity list.