Google says cutting off Huawei could pose national security risk

What you need to know

  • Google is lobbying the U.S. government to get an exemption from the ban.
  • Google says that a Huawei-modified version of Android is more likely to be hacked.
  • Huawei received a 90-day extension last month, allowing its devices to receive updates through August.

Google was one of several American companies that had to cut ties with Huawei to comply with the U.S. government ban, and the company is now petitioning lawmakers in Washington to exempt it from the ban. Google advised the Trump administration that the move could end up compromising US national security.

With Google out of the picture, Huawei is said to be working on its own operating system to power its devices, with reports suggesting that the OS will be able to run Android apps. Google argues that this "hybrid" version of Android will have more bugs and is more likely to be hacked. From the Financial Times (paywall):

Google argues a Huawei-modified version of Android would be more susceptible to being hacked, according to people briefed on its lobbying efforts. Huawei has said it would be able to develop its own operating system "very quickly".

Google is essentially worried that the ban will create two variants of Android — Google's own version with the Play Store and the Huawei-modified OS. Huawei has been granted a 90-day extension that allows its devices to receive updates globally, and Google is said to be working with the commerce department to get another extension or an exemption from the ban altogether. Google says it's doing so to protect the security of millions of users that use Huawei devices:

Like other US companies, we're engaging with the Department of Commerce to ensure we're in full compliance with its requirements and temporary licence. Our focus is protecting the security of Google users on the millions of existing Huawei handsets in the US and around the world.