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US Lawmakers Ask Google to Break Ties with Huawei

In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, five U.S. legislators claimed they were "disappointed" that Google continues to collaborate with the Chinese firm, according to a new report. 

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

As reported by Reuters, the letter had bipartisan support, containing signatures from Republican Senators Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio, Republican Representatives Michael Conaway and Liz Cheney, and Democratic Representative Dutch Ruppersberger. 

The lawmakers claimed to be particularly frustrated with Google's partnership in light of its recent decision not to renew Project Maven, an artificial intelligence-research collaboration with the U.S. government. The legislators were more disappointed that Google was "more willing to support the Chinese Communist Party than the U.S. Military." 

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This letter is one of a series recent efforts from the U.S. government to agitate Chinese tech companies. Earlier this month, Democratic senator Mark Warner said in letters to Alphabet (Google's parent company) and Twitter that their partnerships with Chinese manufacturers Huawei, Xiaomi, and Tencent raised "national security concerns." He also pressured the firms to reveal details on data they'd shared with their Chinese partners.

The U.S. government flagged Huawei, along with Chinese manufacturer ZTE, as untrustworthy back in 2012. The report stated that Huawei did not cooperate with a special committee's investigation, and was unwilling to explain its relationship with the Chinese Communist Party. The company "likely remains dependent on the Chinese government for support," the report concluded. 

Google, for its part, denies that such partnerships compromise user data. “Like many U.S. companies, we have agreements with dozens of OEMs (manufacturers) around the world, including Huawei," the company said in a statement. "We do not provide special access to Google user data as part of these agreement, and our agreements include privacy and security protections for use data.”  

Monica Chin is a writer at The Verge, covering computers. Previously, she was a staff writer for Tom's Guide, covering artificial intelligence and the internet of things. You can usually find her at poetry slams, attempting to exercise, or yelling at people on Twitter.