Endpoint Security , Governance & Risk Management , IT Risk Management

Huawei Takes New Legal Step to Fight US Ban

Chinese Firm Wants Court to Act Quickly to Overturn Ban on Use of Tech by Agencies
Huawei Takes New Legal Step to Fight US Ban
Huawei booth at Mobile World Congress 2019 (Source: Huawei)

Chinese telecom giant Huawei has taken a new legal step in its effort to overturn a ban on U.S. government agencies buying its telecom equipment and services.

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In a filing late Tuesday, Huawei's legal team asked a federal court to provide a "summary judgment" regarding its March lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes the ban. The company is arguing that the legislation specifically targets Huawei and effectively punishes the company's customers.

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act is a massive spending bill that not only sets this year's budget for the U.S. Defense Department, but also establishes policies and procedures for the Pentagon. The bill contains a provision - Section 889 - that bans the federal government from purchasing equipment from Huawei as well as ZTE, citing concerns over national security.

The overriding concern is that Huawei is too closely tied to the Chinese government and its gear could be used as a backdoor for that country's intelligence services (see: Huawei's Role in 5G Networks: A Matter of Trust). But Huawei has denied that the company poses a threat to U.S. national security.

In a statement, Glen Nager, Huawei's lead counsel in this lawsuit, argues that Section 889 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act violates several portions of the U.S. Constitution. Nager argues Huawei's case is purely "a matter of law" related to the Constitution. Huawei filed its motion in hopes of speeding up court action on its lawsuit. A judge is scheduled to hear arguments on Sept. 19 in a federal court in Texas.

Legal Challenges

Huawei argues that Section 899 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act violates the Constitution because it specifically mentions the company and makes a judgment about the company's motives without due process.

"The judicial system is the last line of defense for justice. Huawei has confidence in the independence and integrity of the U.S. judicial system. We hope that mistakes in the [National Defense Authorization Act] can be corrected by the court," Song Liuping, the chief legal officer of Huawei, noted in a statement.

The federal government has argued that Huawei presents a national security threat. And some legal experts note that Congress has broad authorization to act when national security is an issue, Reuters reports.

Huawei Vs. Trump

Since Huawei filed its lawsuit in March that challenges the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, the company's ongoing battle with the White House has escalated.

In addition to the ban enacted last year that affects government agencies, President Donald Trump this month issued an executive order giving the government the ability to ban the use by U.S. companies of any telecommunications equipment "that poses an undue risk of sabotage to or subversion of the design." The order appears to be designed to block Huawei's business in the U.S. (See: Trump Signs Executive Order That Could Ban Huawei)

The Commerce Department, however, issued a 90-day reprieve to give Huawei's customers and partners some time to resolve any negotiations or business deals in the works (see: Huawei Gets 90-Day Reprieve on Ban).

Additionally, the Commerce Department issued a memo that placed Huawei and 68 of its non-U.S. affiliates on the so-called "entity list," which prohibits them from procuring U.S. goods or services without an export license.

The U.S. has attempted to pressure its allies, especially those in Europe, to abandon Huawei and its equipment, especially for the build-out of 5G networks.

About the Author

Scott Ferguson

Scott Ferguson

Former Managing Editor, GovInfoSecurity, ISMG

Ferguson was the managing editor for the GovInfoSecurity.com media website at Information Security Media Group. Before joining ISMG, he was editor-in-chief at eWEEK and director of audience development for InformationWeek. He's also written and edited for Light Reading, Security Now, Enterprise Cloud News, TU-Automotive, Dice Insights and DevOps.com.

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