THE US DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE (DNC) has warned candidates running in November against using devices from Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE.
Bob Lord, the DNC's chief security officer, wrote in a warning: "It's very important that party and campaign workers not use ZTE or Huawei devices, even if the price is low or free.
"Please make sure that you are not using or purchasing ZTE or Huawei devices anywhere within your staff - for personal or work-related use," he added.
The warning was sent out after the DNC learned that a Democratic organisation was considering buying ZTE phones for its staff, a senior Democratic source told CNN.
While CNN's report didn't reveal why Lord is urging party members not to use devices from Huawei or ZTE, his warning echoes the one US intelligence agencies issued back in February.
At the time, the heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA and the director of national intelligence warned American citizens not to use smartphones from Huawei and ZTE, citing "national security" concerns.
FBI director Chris Wray said: "We're deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don't share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks."
"That provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure. It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage."
Following Wray's comments, Huawei - which this year saw AT&T and Verizon back out of deals to flog its smartphones following pressure from the US government - said in a statement: "We operate in 170 countries where there is trust with governments and customers. We pose no greater cybersecurity risk than other vendors."
And ZTE, which last month had its US trade ban lifted, added: "As a publicly traded company, we are committed to adhering to all applicable laws and regulations of the United States, work with carriers to pass strict testing protocols, and adhere to the highest business standards." µ
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