DNC warns candidates, members and campaign workers not to use Huawei or ZTE devices
Back in 2012, members of Congress produced a report that called Chinese manufacturers ZTE and Huawei National Security threats. There was talk that devices made by both firms were spying on U.S. consumers and corporations. Such talk resurfaced earlier this year when at the last second, both Verizon and AT&T pulled back from offering the Huawei Mate 10 Pro after the U.S. government allegedly intervened. And it came up again when a bipartisan group on Capitol Hill tried to block the Trump administration's plan to lift the export ban placed on ZTE by the Commerce Department. ZTE was not allowed to source software, hardware and other components from U.S. companies because it failed to comply with penalties placed on the manufacturer. ZTE had sold goods and services to Iran and North Korea in violation of U.S. sanctions placed on those countries.
ZTE and Huawei phones are no longer sold on U.S. military bases, and now the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is warning candidates, and those working for the party and on campaigns, not to use any mobile device made by the pair. The DNC's chief security officer, Bob Lord, wrote a memo to DNC members yesterday telling them not to purchase or use a ZTE or Huawei phone even if it is free or low priced. The warning covers both work and personal phones.
Back in February, top security officials from the alphabet soup that makes up U.S. defense agencies warned the Senate Intelligence Committee about the risks posed by Chinese smartphone manufacturers. The committee heard from FBI Director Christopher Wray who said that the G-men were "deeply concerned" about these companies' ties to the Chinese government. At the time, both Huawei and ZTE denied the allegations.
According to CNN, the recent warning came about after an organization related to the Democrats was planning on purchasing ZTE phones for its staff. ZTE is the fourth largest smartphone vendor in the U.S., and Huawei surpassed Apple in Q2 phone shipments to become the world's second largest smartphone manufacturer.