As lawmakers wait for the Obama administration to respond to their cybersecurity concerns about U.S. telecommunication deals with Chinese companies, experts suggest their focus may be too narrow, considering the scope of the security threat bleeds far beyond China’s borders.
In late October, a bipartisan group wrote to the Federal Communications Commission with questions about discussions between the U.S. companies Sprint and Cricket, and Chinese telecommunication equipment providers Huawei Technology and ZTE. The foreign companies are perceived to have a cozy relationship with their government, which has given them billions of dollars in backing. Those ties raise concerns that China could alter any technology sold to the American firms — with or without the manufacturers’ knowledge — to capture calls, e-mails and GPS locations for purposes of espionage, according to the letter’s authors, Republican Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn., and Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C.