File image: U.S President, Donald Trump. IOL.

CAPE TOWN - US lawmakers last week introduced a bill, aimed at banning government agencies from using phones and equipment from Chinese multinationals, Huawei and ZTE. 

This comes after growing security concern surfaced between Huawei, ZTE and the U.S government. The US government reportedly says that these mobile technology brands pose a security threat to their country. 

As a result, Texas Representative, Mike Conaway introduced a bill last week, Defending U. S Government Communications Act. The bill aims to ban US government agencies from utilising phones and equipment from the companies. 

In a statement on his site, Conaway says that technology coming from the country poses a threat to national security and that by using the company’s equipment, “would be inviting Chinese surveillance into all aspects of our lives,”

Given the fact that business of the Chinese companies are growing in the US, this supposedly represents a further security risk. 

Conaway’s bill reportedly forms part of a greater trend of concerns. 

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Just last year, the heads of six large US intelligence agencies reportedly told a Senate Intelligence Committee that they had concerns of utilising security products from cybersecurity company, Kaspersky Lab. 

The UK’s national Cyber Security Centre also issued a new guidance over the Russian cybersecurity company’s products. 

According to US Intelligence and counterintelligence officials, Huawei allegedly shared information with state leaders. 

This has been a concern for a while, dating back to 2010. Four senators contacted the FCC with concerns over the alleged ties between the companies and the Chinese government. 

In 2011, the two companies were the subject of a report from the House of Representative’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 

The Committee recommended that the government be prohibited from buying Huawei and ZTE products. The conclusion also stated that there should be continued investigation and vigilance of these companies. 

Authors of Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know, Peter Warren Singer and Allan Friedman argue that cyber security risk grows as hardware supply chains foster opportunities for foreign agents to compromise equipment. 

“If a potential adversary is making the systems and software that you use,” he says, “you don’t just have dependency, but also potential vulnerability that can be exploited not just now, but years into the future”, says Singer. 

Meanwhile, in August last year, Huawei proved its credence in the technological space by ranking as the third largest smartphone manufacturer globally. 

Among its contenders were global competitor brands, Apple and Samsung. 

According to the Effective Measure South Africa Mobile Report 2017, Samsung ranks in at the top spot by being the dominant mobile brand in South Africa with a 40% market share. Apple falls in second place with 10% whilst Huawei followed by closely with 9% market share. 

On the company’s growth, the global COO of the company, Mr Biao Wan told Business Report that he was pleased with the growth of the market share in South Africa. 

“South Africa is very important for the Huawei group. The success that we have experienced has been phenomenal. Huawei SA has increased sales of our flagship P-series devices. The first month of sales of the P10 and P10 Plus saw an 68% increase as compared to the same period last year with the P9. We feel this is due to increasing consumer confidence in the Huawei brand and premium product segment”, said Wan. 

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