Google is reportedly pushing the Trump administration to allow the company to be exempt from a ban on working with Huawei technology, citing security risks it says the ban creates for U.S. consumers.
The Financial Times reported Friday that Google executives are hoping to secure an exemption from the Trump administration's recent ruling banning U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei in order to partner with the Chinese firm on developing software for Android phones, which Huawei sells in the U.S.
According to FT, some Google executives believe that Huawei will develop its own Android software without consultation from Google if the ban remains in place, thereby leading to the development of software with security flaws and other bugs.
“Google has been arguing that by stopping it from dealing with Huawei, the US risks creating two kinds of Android operating system: the genuine version and a hybrid one. The hybrid one is likely to have more bugs in it than the Google one, and so could put Huawei phones more at risk of being hacked, not least by China," one person involved in the negotiations told FT.
The Trump administration moved in recent weeks to blacklist Huawei, prohibiting U.S. firms from doing business with the company even as it continues to sell "unlocked" smartphones in the U.S.
Administration officials have maintained for months that Huawei tech contains security flaws that allow Chinese intelligence agents access to technology purchased by consumers. Huawei has consistently denied the charge.
A spokesperson for Google told The Hill that the company was focused on minimizing security risks for consumers, while not confirming the company's bid for an exemption.
“Like other U.S. companies, we’re engaging with the Department of Commerce to ensure we’re in full compliance with its requirements and temporary license. Our focus is protecting the security of Google users on the millions of existing Huawei handsets in the US and around the world," the spokesperson said.
A top official at Huawei recently offered to sign a "no-spying" agreement with the U.S. to address concerns related to Chinese intelligence.
"We are willing to sign a no-spy agreement with the U.S.," company chairman Liang Hua told reporters this week. "The U.S. has not bought from us, is not buying from us and doesn't have plans to buy from us. So, I don't know if there's opportunity to sign such an agreement."