President Donald Trump gave the telecom industry a strong warning today about Chinese company Huawei hiring a former Obama administration cybersecurity official as their lobbyist.
Huawei and ZTE technologies were banned last year from use by federal government and government contractors. The ban was signed into placed by President Trump as a component of the much larger Defense Authorization Act.
“Chinese Telecom Giant Huawei hires former Obama Cyber Security Official as a lobbyist. This is not good, or acceptable!” the President wrote in a tweet on April 15.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019
Although Huawei is the world’s No. 1 telecom supplier and No. 2 smartphone maker, the Pentagon has banned Huawei from being sold on military bases worldwide.
Samir Jain was the senior director for cybersecurity policy at the White House National Security Council during the Obama administration. However, he is now a lobbyist for China-based Huawei. But why is a former U.S. government official lobbying for U.S. government-banned Huawei tech?
President Trump is warning the telecom industry that Jain would give Huawei an insider perspective on how to counter the U.S. government crackdown on Huawei.
China’s Electronic Spying Eyes and Ears
Although 5G technology means faster wireless speeds—including for technologies like self-driving cars and augmented reality—there are serious hazards from two fronts that need to be addressed and fixed: Possible health issues for those sensitive to electromagnetic frequencies, and cyber espionage and subversion by China if their technology is continued to be used.
According to The Epoch Times, “Under China’s National Intelligence Law, enacted in 2017, all Chinese companies are required to supply intelligence information to Beijing, if requested.”
Lin Ying-dar, a professor specializing in wireless communications and network security at Taiwan’s National Chiao Tung University, warned that Huawei equipment, including smartphones, Wi-Fi cards, internet base stations, and core networks, are all likely to have built-in backdoors. Virtual backdoors can put users at risk of being spied on or having their communications intercepted.
5G in the United States
The U.S. government has a massive auction in the works for later this year to bolster 5G service, the next generation of mobile networks.
President Donald Trump showcased the announcement on April 12. He declared that the race to stand up faster, more powerful networks is a competition “America must win.”
“We cannot allow any other country to out-compete the United States in this powerful industry of the future,” the president said at the White House. “We are leading by so much in so many different industries of that type, and we just can’t let that happen.”
The president also announced a $20 billion plan to expand broadband access to rural areas that are currently without it.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.