In case you hadn’t heard, Chinese smartphone giant, Huawei, has just released a new smartphone on Amazon. The Huawei Mate SE is the latest release for the smartphone maker and it ships with a highly attractive price tag for budget shoppers at only $229. However, the US Government is recommending that all US consumers avoid this phone as well as any phone made by Huawei.
The new Huawei Mate SE features an attractive, 5.9-inch display, a large battery and is powered by Android, but the US government has several concerns with allowing any company that is linked to the Chinese government to operate on US communication networks.
“We’re deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks,” FBI Director Chris Wray testified during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in mid-February. Wray also said that the devices give Chinese smartphone makers access or even “control” over the U.S. telecommunications system and “provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information” and “conduct undetected espionage.”
These comments were preceded by AT&T quietly backing out of a deal to sell the Huawei Mate 10. While we don’t know if these concerns or pressure from the government caused AT&T to back out of the deal, but the timing is rather suspicious.
Huawei, for its part, has responded to the comments from the US government and continues to claim that its phones are as secure as other makers and should be given the same amount of trust as makers from the United States and even Korea. Of course, it’s important to note that they don’t refute any claims of their government influence.
“Huawei is aware of a range of U.S. government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei’s business in the U.S. market,” the company told CNBC last month. “Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities.”
While the allegations of a potential threat have no officially been made, you all should know that so far no type of cybersecurity threats specific to espionage or spying have been found on Huawei smartphones. So far, they have only been guilty of the same flaws that other Android smartphones have, a problem that is not entirely the fault of Huawei, but that of Android itself. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Could the Chinese government use these phones to spy and access the United States communication networks? Certainly. But if they have, this issue has yet to be proven.
What do you think? Would you buy a smartphone made by a Chinese manufacturer like Huawei or do you prefer to stick to products manufactured elsewhere? Do you think they will find any instances of spying? Tell me your thoughts about this and the company itself in the comments below. We would love to hear your opinions on what is certainly a complicated and controversial issue.