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Is Huawei Really More Dangerous than Facebook?

US President Donald Trump's campaign against leading Chinese technology companies is driven by legitimate concerns. But are they so different from the worries that democratic societies should have about American social-media and technology companies?

OXFORD – The United States and some of its allies have acted decisively to exclude the Chinese technology company Huawei from their national markets, yet they continue to ignore the similar threat posed by Facebook and other US digital giants. Democratic governments must now be equally decisive in dealing with this home-grown danger.

Huawei is not only the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications equipment and its second-largest phone manufacturer; it is also the global leader in building ultra-high-speed 5G networks – far ahead of any US competitor. And, along with some other Chinese companies, Huawei supplies surveillance equipment to about 230 cities across Western Europe, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

US President Donald Trump’s administration accuses Huawei of stealing intellectual property, committing fraud and obstructing justice in evading American sanctions against Iran, and potentially using its hardware and inbuilt software to spy for the Chinese government. The US government has therefore prohibited US government agencies from buying equipment from Huawei (and also from ZTE, Hikvision, Dahua, and Hytera).

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