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Congress scrutinizing Google’s RCS deal with Huawei to provide carrier infrastructure

While the Executive Branch is warming up to Chinese companies like ZTE following the reversal of an export ban, Congress is continuing to scrutinize US companies working with China. The legislative body is now particularly focusing on a Google and Huawei partnership announced in January to push RCS adoption.

In recent years, Google has been working to get various manufacturers and carriers onboard with RCS as part of efforts to increase the adoption of the next-generation SMS successor.

For the former party, this includes agreeing to pre-install Android Messages as the default RCS client, while phone carriers have to adapt networks. Huawei agreed in January to preload the Google messaging client, as well as work to accelerate RCS deployment by offering an integrated hardware and software solution.

Huawei would offer its current infrastructure products alongside Google’s Jibe RCS cloud and hub solution “to current and prospective carrier partners.”

According to the Wall Street Journal today, this is particularly worrisome to Congress in light of fears over China’s role in the deployment of next-generation 5G technology that could allegedly allow them to spy on networks and communications. As such, lawmakers want to limit carrier adoption of telecommunication equipment from Huawei and ZTE.

Congress wants to use its oversight authority to find out more about the partnership, including the extent of data sharing between Google and Huawei. Formal options include sending Google questions to answer.

Interestingly, a source speaking to the WSJ notes that the new RCS technology does not give phone makers greater access to user data than current SMS solutions.

Meanwhile, according to today’s report, US lawmakers are upset over Google no longer working for the Department of Defense on AI products following mass employee backlash. Congress finds it particularly odd that Google will not work with the US military, but continue on partnering with an entity considered to be a national security threat due to alleged ties with China’s government.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: