Thursday 4 April 2019 1:29 pm

MIT cuts ties with Huawei and ZTE as China security concerns mount

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has cut its ties with Chinese tech firms Huawei and ZTE amid concerns over cyber security risks.

The US university said it would not be accepting new engagements or renewing existing ones with the two companies after beefing up its risk review process.

Read more: It's make your mind up time for the UK over Huawei security saga

In a joint letter Maria Zuber, vice president for research, and associate provost Richard Lester said the move was due to ongoing investigations into sanctions violations.

The change of policy came after MIT rolled out a new review process for so-called elevated risk international partnerships.

The new standards mean greater scrutiny will be applied to risks related to issues such as intellectual property, data security and access and national security.

“The Institute will revisit collaborations with these entities as circumstances dictate,” they wrote.

“We're disappointed by MIT's decision, but we understand the pressure they're under at the moment,” a Huawei spokesperson said.

“We believe that scientific research is carried out for the benefit of all mankind, and should be free from the influence of geopolitics.”

MIT is the latest high-profile university to cut ties with Huawei, after Oxford said it will suspend donations from the firm. Stanford has also halted a research partnership with the company.

Huawei is facing mounting pressure from the international community over concerns its equipment could be used for spying by Chinese authorities.

The US has urged its allies to ban the telecoms firm from their 5G networks, warning a failure to do so could compromise intelligence-sharing agreements.

The British security services’ latest report into Huawei, published last week, highlighted “significant technical issues” in the company’s technology, which it warned could pose a risk to national security.

Read more: UK slams Huawei for 'long term security risks'

Huawei has denied any allegations its equipment could be used for spying and has said it is working closely with UK authorities to address security concerns.

ZTE has been contacted for comment.