Last year, Chinese hardware giant Huawei had its ability to do business with the U.S. federal government and related contractors severely curtailed by a piece of legislation called the National Defense Authorization Act. Huawei tried to sue, arguing the Act is unconstitutional, but this week a federal judge ruled that the company doesn’t have grounds for its lawsuit, Politico reports.
The U.S. government claims national security is at stake because Huawei’s close ties to the Chinese government combined with the crucial infrastructure it supplies mobile network operators could provide both the incentive and the means to spy. Huawei, not surprisingly, denies that suggestion vehemently and told Politico it “will continue to consider further legal options.”
Kaspersky was used as precedent — The ruling found that, in passing the Act, Congress hasn’t so much prevented Huawei from conducting business in the U.S., but instead simply made a legitimate decision about federal spending. If the federal government decides not to do business with a particular company, that's its prerogative.
District Judge Amos Mazzant’s decision took multiple cues from a previous case involving Kaspersky, the Russian antivirus and cybersecurity firm that was similarly excluded from projects with federal entities and also tried — and failed — to sue.
Despite being granted a fourth reprieve from an outright ban on doing business with U.S. entities, Huawei remains under pressure on multiple fronts. This week reports emerged that the U.S. is considering moves that could make it more difficult to get access to crucial semiconductor technology, and various European nations are weighing up whether or not to allow Huawei’s hardware to form part of their 5G networks and risk angering the Trump administration if they do.
One thing is clear: don’t expect an easing of tensions any time soon, no matter what vague conciliatory sentiments the President might Tweet.