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HUAWEI files lawsuit against the U.S. over government equipment ban

HUAWEI officials said the U.S. offered no evidence that the firm sends data to the Chinese government or is a security risk.

Published onMarch 7, 2019

The HUAWEI logo.

Huawei is finally striking back at the U.S. government over claims that the China-based smartphone and telecommunications company is a security risk. The company filed a lawsuit in a Texas federal court, claiming the U.S. government overstepped its bounds when it banned the use of HUAWEI’s equipment by government agencies.

Bloomberg reports that the company’s lawsuit is going after a specific provision in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. That provision bans any U.S government agency, or any company that is either a government contractor or receives a government loan or grant, from using equipment made by HUAWEI and ZTE. The lawsuit claims that this ban is unconstitutional because it singled out HUAWEI for punishment without a fair trial.

HUAWEI held a press conference in China to announce the lawsuit, which was live-streamed on its YouTube channel. Rotating chairman Guo Ping claimed during the event that the U.S. government had hacked into its company servers, stealing private emails and source code (see 4:13 in the above video), but offered no evidence of these actions.

U.S. lawmakers have claimed for some time now that HUAWEI uses its smartphones and telecommunications hardware to spy on the U.S. and that data obtained by the firm’s products is sent to the Chinese government. HUAWEI has repeatedly denied these claims, and today’s press event was no different. Company officials stated during the conference that the U.S. offered no evidence that the firm sends data to the Chinese government or is any kind of security risk.

If HUAWEI has a security problem, what exactly is it?
The HUAWEI logo.

The lawsuit is just the latest shot fired in the legal and political war between HUAWEI and the U.S. government. It comes a few months after the firm’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada, at the request of Washington. The U.S. seeks to extradite Meng over charges of circumventing trade sanctions against Iran. Meng is current out on bail, but has to wear an ankle bracelet.

On a less serious note, almost all executives speaking at the press conference were reading their lines from the company’s upcoming Mate X foldable phone. The foldable device, which debuted at MWC 2019, doesn’t have a firm release date yet. However, HUAWEI has mooted a “mid-summer” launch, with June being eyed as the earliest launch month.

NEXT: The many flavors of Android — A look at the major Android skins

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