Over the weekend, news emerged that Google revoked Huawei's Android license for new devices, cutting off the Chinese technology company's access to critical Google applications. Now, Huawei's critics on Capitol Hill have long applauded Google's move and encourage other technology companies to follow suit.
Legislators such as Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) have been sounding the alarm at Chinese companies such as Huawei for years, and in statements provided to The Verge today, they approved Google's decision. Rubio said the action was "wise" and Van Hollen said he sent a "clear message."
Regulators, lawmakers and the Defense Department warned that Chinese technology companies such as Huawei and ZTE pose a major threat to US national security, although much of the intelligence they cite is classified.
The criticism was translated into action when lawmakers attached the language to a mandatory military spending bill last summer that prohibited government agencies from buying Chinese telecommunications equipment. And last week, the administration increased tensions when President Trump signed an executive order that gives the Department of Commerce the ability to prevent US companies from buying foreign-made telecommunications equipment. Now, Google is extending this ban privately by revoking Huawei's ability to use the company's Android operating system.
Google Play Store and Play Protect will continue to work on current Huawei devices, but new smartphones and tablets will not support many of these critical applications.
Rubio and Cotton were two legislators who stimulated Hill's discussion of Huawei and its possible security risks. Speaking on Monday, lawmakers applauded Google's move.
"With Google's wise decision today, we are already beginning to see a significant impact on the technology sector after the Trump Administration announced plans for Huawei blackball adding it to the Department of Commerce's List of Entities," he said. Blond. "The United States is leading the way, as it urges allies and partners, such as Britain, to avoid getting entangled with Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese telecommunications companies run by the state."
Legislation headed by cotton earlier this year would prohibit the export of US parts to Chinese companies such as Huawei if they violated export control or sanction laws. In a statement Monday, Cotton said: "Chinese spy companies such as Huawei represent serious threats to our national security, and American companies should follow Google's example by breaking ties with Huawei."
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) co-sponsored the Cotton bill, making it a bipartisan effort, and told The Verge, "This Administration has finally recognized what we have been warning in Congress: Huawei and ZTE represent a threat to our privacy and national security, and should not take place in our telecommunications infrastructure. "
"Google's actions, in response to the Department of Commerce order, are part of our clear message that bad actors will not be tolerated," continued Van Hollen.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) was more skeptical about Google's move, suggesting the company may have revoked the license before Trump signed the executive order last week.
"Google's decision today raises more questions: how many other alliances have with signatures like Huawei that could end up with a button change?" Hawley said. "The reality is that until the administration took action, Google turned a blind eye to Huawei's practices because they wanted to make a profit."
The Federal Communications Commission has also increased efforts against Chinese companies. Last week, the FCC voted to prevent China Mobile from integrating into US networks and commissioners such as Brendan Carr have even asked national security agencies to investigate whether China Unicom and China Telecom should be eliminated altogether.