Technology

Lawmakers urge Google to drop partnership with Chinese phone maker Huawei

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to Google on Wednesday expressing concerns over the company’s partnership with the Chinese phone maker Huawei.

The group of senators and congressmen said that the partnership poses national security concerns, in step with previous efforts to keep Chinese tech firms, including ZTE and Huawei, from doing business in the U.S.

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“Since the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released its investigative report on the national-security issues posed by Chinese telecommunications firms in 2012, U.S. officials have publicly raised concerns about Huawei’s ties to the Chinese government,” the lawmakers wrote, citing a report outlining the potential national security risks posed by Chinese tech companies.  

The lawmakers who signed the letter addressed to Google CEO Sundar Pichai included Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.).

The group has been involved in previous congressional efforts to restrict ZTE and Huawei’s business in the U.S., including urging the Federal Communications Commission to not subsidize Chinese telecommunication products and preventing the federal government from obtaining contracts with the firms.

They argued that Huawei’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party mean that the government could pressure the phone maker into providing a backdoor to the data of Americans using its products.

Conaway and company also tried to argue that Google’s recent decision to drop a contract with the Pentagon is a reason for why it should end its partnership with Huawei.

“While we regret that Google did not want to continue a long and fruitful tradition of collaboration between the military and technology companies we are even more disappointed that Google apparently is more willing to support the Chinese Communist Party than the U.S.,” they wrote.

Google said earlier in the month that it would cease its Project Maven contract that with the Department of Defense following employee backlash. Google’s service provided the military A.I. tools believed to be for its drone use.

The lawmaker letter comes as legislators also push to keep ZTE from doing business in the U.S.

The Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that would reimpose the Commerce department’s ban on ZTE doing business with U.S. firms, despite the Trump administration’s attempts to undo the punishment.

The ban had effectively shut down ZTE.

Tags Dutch Ruppersberger Liz Cheney Marco Rubio Mike Conaway Tom Cotton

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