Calling China’s Huawei a ‘security threat’, US lawmakers urge Google to reconsider its ties to the telecom

Criticism that the tech giant works with the Chinese smartphone maker but ended a research partnership with the US Defence Department

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 June, 2018, 3:32am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 June, 2018, 5:05am

A group of Republican and Democratic US lawmakers asked Alphabet Inc’s Google on Wednesday to reconsider its work with Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, which the politicians described as a security threat.

In a letter to Google chief executive Sundar Pichai, the lawmakers said Google recently decided not to renew “Project Maven,” an artificial intelligence research partnership with the US Department of Defence.

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“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 US military,” they wrote.

The letter was signed by Republican Senators Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio, Republican Representatives Michael Conaway and Liz Cheney, and Democratic Representative Dutch Ruppersberger.

The letter was the latest in a series of efforts by members of the US Congress to target Huawei and ZTE, another major Chinese telecommunications equipment company.

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The lawmakers have written bills that would bar government agencies from using the companies’ products and try to overturn US President Donald Trump’s agreement to end a ban on ZTE.

Earlier this month another senator, Democrat Mark Warner, wrote to Alphabet and other technology companies asking about any data-sharing agreements with Chinese vendors.

Concerns about eavesdropping and other security threats led the Pentagon this spring to cease selling Huawei devices on its military bases.