It’s been over a year since the souring of relationships between the US and Chinese tech giant Huawei. The result is the latter losing access to Google’s Mobile Services, which its phones today ship without. This could also extend to other Chinese phone makers as well. At least, according to a press statement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The document in question details the expansion of what’s called the Clean Network initiative, adding five new lines of effort. One of them is called Clean Apps, which reads ” To prevent untrusted PRC smartphone manufacturers from pre-installing – or otherwise making available for download – trusted apps on their apps store”.
On one hand, the statement only overtly names Huawei as being affiliated to China. But on the other, other parts of the statement makes broad strokes references to almost anything made in the country.
Take the Clean Carrier line, for example. This aims to prevent China’s telcos from connecting with US networks, with no overt mention of any specific ones. Then there’s Clean Store, which is related to Clean App mentioned above. This one aims to remove China-made apps from US app stores.
Two more lines of the Clean Network initiative are Clean Cloud and Clean Cable. The former wants to stop the use of Chinese cloud servers, run by companies like Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent. The latter is vaguer, wanting to ensure US undersea cables “are not subverted for intelligence gathering”.
With the statement being published quite recently, it remains to be seen what its effects will be. Obvious questions will be when and in what way these will be enforced.