Cybersecurity

Republican lawmakers raise security, privacy concerns over Huawei cloud services

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (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 Blinken 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 Pompeo, 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 Trump 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 Raimondo told reporters in April that she had "no reason to believe" that Huawei would be removed from the entity list.

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