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Phones

Pentagon bans sale of Huawei, ZTE phones on US military bases

The Department of Defense is concerned that the phones pose a security threat to "personnel, information and mission."

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Huawei faces ongoing troubles with the US government.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Pentagon has banned the sale of Huawei and ZTE phones on US military bases worldwide, the US Department of Defense confirmed to CNET on Wednesday.

The ban is based on the potential security threat the Pentagon believes the phones from the China-based companies may pose. It's the latest move in an ongoing crackdown on the two companies by the US government, which is suspicious that they could hack into their phones and use them to spy for the Chinese government.

"Huawei and ZTE devices may pose an unacceptable risk to Department's personnel, information and mission," said Pentagon spokesman Major Dave Eastburn. "In light of this information, it was not prudent for the Department's exchanges to continue selling them to DoD personnel."

US military personnel are still allowed to buy ZTE and Huawei phones for personal use from elsewhere, although the Pentagon is currently deciding whether to issue a wider advisory about the purchase of phones by the two brands, said Eastburn. He said security reasons prevented him from going into the technical aspects of the potential threats.

In February, heads of the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency used congressional testimony to warn consumers against purchasing Huawei phones. Both Huawei and ZTE have repeatedly insisted that their consumer devices don't pose a security threat to the US.

Last month the US Commerce Department imposed a "denial of export privileges"  on ZTE, which translates to a ban on US companies selling products and services to the China-based company. Huawei is also currently under investigation by the US Department of Justice about whether Huawei violated US sanctions against Iran.

Neither Huawei nor ZTE immediately responded to request for comment.

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