Huawei challenges Trump claim of national security threat

Huawei says the FCC lacks "substantial evidence" and failed to give the company a chance to defend itself.
Huawei says the FCC lacks "substantial evidence" and failed to give the company a chance to defend itself.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Huawei Technologies said the Trump administration's decision late last year to label the giant Chinese telecommunications company a national security threat was unconstitutional and harmful to US industry.

In a lawsuit filed on Monday (Feb 8) at the New Orleans Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Huawei said the Dec 11 declaration by the US Federal Communications Commission was arbitrary and capricious, exceeded its authority and violated federal rule-making procedures.

Huawei also claims the FCC lacks "substantial evidence" and failed to give the company a chance to defend itself before the rule was finalised.

"The order on review potentially impacts the financial interests of the telecommunications industry as a whole, including manufacturers, end users, and service providers in a broad range of industries, such as internet, cellular and landline telephone, and similar telecommunications applications," Huawei said in the court filing, which was reported earlier by Dow Jones.

Huawei previously challenged the FCC's 2019 decision to ban US companies from using taxpayer subsidies to fund purchases of Huawei's 5G technology.

The Trump administration said national security concerns outweighed the Chinese firm's lower costs.

In that case, which is also pending before the Fifth Circuit, Huawei vigorously disputed allegations that it has ties to the Chinese government that could compromise the security of telecom networks and devices.

Analysts have argued Huawei's latest generation of equipment has built-in backdoors and other security loopholes that could allow the Chinese government to eavesdrop on American conversations and data transmissions and illegally collect data on US citizens.

Huawei disputes these allegations.

"Last year the FCC issued a final designation identifying Huawei as a national security threat based on a substantial body of evidence developed by the FCC and numerous US national security agencies," the commission said in an emailed statement.

"We will continue to defend that decision."