Several members of Congress in a June 20 letter urged Google to “reconsider” its business relationship with China-based communications equipment maker Huawei, saying that the partnership between the two companies “could pose a serious risk to U.S. national security and American consumers” because of Huawei’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party, which led U.S. intelligence agencies earlier this year to urge Americans not to use Huawei products and services.

The congressmen also noted provisions in House and Senate versions of the proposed FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act that would bar Federal agencies from buying products and services from Huawei and ZTE, another China-based communications equipment maker.

In addition to the pending legislation in Congress, they told Google that “over the coming months, the Federal government will likely take further measures to defend U.S. telecommunications networks from Huawei and companies like it.”

And they chided the company for its recent decision to drop out of Project Maven, a research partnership with the Defense Department that they said aims to improve the accuracy of U.S. military targeting.

“While we regret that Google did not want to continue a long and fruitful tradition of collaboration between the military and technology companies, we are even more disappointed that Google apparently is more willing to support the Chinese Communist Party than the U.S. military,” they said.

Signing the letter were Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Marco Rubio, R.-Fla., and Reps. Mike Conway, R.-Texas, Liz Cheney, R.-Wyo., and C.A. Ruppersberger, D-Md.

According to press reports, a Google spokesperson confirmed the company’s business relationship with Huawei but said the Chinese firm gets no special access to Google user data as part of the deal.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.