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Pentagon Bans Sale of Chinese Smartphones on Military Bases as 'Unacceptable Risk'

05 May 2018
Pentagon Bans Sale of Chinese Smartphones on Military Bases as 'Unacceptable Risk'

Pentagon-affiliated news outlet Stars and Stripes reported last month that Huawei phones were being sold by a TKS, a vendor to us military bases in Germany.

Eastburn continued: "In light of this information, it was not prudent for the Department's exchanges to continue selling them".

In response to the U.S. government coordinated action - which also encompasses Huawei's networking gear as well as its smartphones - Huawei has reportedly axed staff "across the board" at is US-based headquarters.

"Huawei and ZTE devices may pose an unacceptable risk to Department's personnel, information and mission", Pentagon spokesperson Major David Eastburb said in a statement. The company markets telecommunications services and devices to USA service members overseas.

Washington imposed sanctions on ZTE last month for breaking an agreement to punish employees after the Chinese maker of smartphones and telecoms gear shipped US goods to Iran in violation of USA sanctions. The order does not ban servicemembers from owning devices from the two companies or bringing them to work.

"These products were removed from exchange service stores and exchange concessionaires worldwide", Eastburn said. But he said they "must be mindful of the security risks associated with the use of" devices. ZTE has largely weathered the broader USA spying concerns better, due in part to a broader footprint in the States than Huawei, but the company admitted that this latest ban would be downright devestating.

The campaign against Huawei and ZTE dates back to 2012 when the House Intelligence Committee issued a report warning that the firms might be using their entrance into the US market as a way to spy for the Chinese government - allegations Huawei and ZTE have both rejected.

Representatives of Huawei and ZTE could not be reached immediately for comment on the possible executive action, though both have denied allegations their products are used to spy.