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US universities dump Huawei gear and cash

by on24 January 2019

Worried about losing federal funding

Top US universities are dumping telecom equipment made by Huawei Technologies and other Chinese companies because they are frightened of losing federal funding under a new Trump-backed national security law.

The US government insists that Chinese telecom manufacturers are producing equipment that allows their government to spy on users abroad, although so far the only government which has been caught doing that has been the US.

The University of California at Berkeley has removed a Huawei video-conferencing system, a university official said, while the UC campus in Irvine is working to replace five pieces of Chinese-made audio-video equipment. Other schools, such as the University of Wisconsin, are reviewing their suppliers.

UC San Diego is refusing to accept funding from or enter into agreements with Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese audio-video equipment providers.

The moves are a response to the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA), which President Donald Trump signed into law in August. A provision of that legislation bans recipients of federal funding from using telecommunications equipment, video recording services and networking components made by Huawei or ZTE. On the blacklist are Chinese audio-video equipment providers Hikvision, Hytera, Dahua Technology and their affiliates.

US authorities fear the equipment makers will leave a back door open to Chinese military and government agents seeking information. US universities that fail to comply with the NDAA by August 2020 risk losing federal research grants and other government funding.

However, the universities are broke due to state funding being slashed and with Chinese funding removed research budgets are being cut. Earlier this month, the prestigious University of Oxford said it wouldn't accept any further donations from Huawei,  although it gave no evidence or rationale for its decision.


Last modified on 24 January 2019
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