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Trump's order to the Secretary of Commerce to block IT transactions deemed to be matters of national security obviously targets Huawei above all others. Huawei, already considered a security risk by the CIA, is taking a major blow, with the blockages affecting its smartphone business severely. 

Broken glass Huawei/Google
© Amirul Hakim Bin Baharin / Shutterstock.com

With the US crackdown on Chinese tech companies, Google is also jumping ship, pulling their license from Huawei. As stated in an article by The Verge, Google said it was "complying with the order and reviewing the implications." Huawei is now restricted to using Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which cuts the company off from using critical Google apps and services that users expect on devices outside of China. 

What If I Already Have An Android Huawei?

In an article from Reuters, a Google spokesperson said that "Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices." Existing Huawei phones with Android installed won't see an immediate impact, but the implications on updates for the phones in future remain in question. 

Under Pressure

Huawei has been under constant pressure from the Trump White House. Trump and the US government have been afraid that Huawei's equipment can be used by the Chinese to spy on American networks. US intelligence even call Huawei "effectively an arm of the Chinese government."

Huawei continually states that it isn't possible for the Chinese government to arm its devices with backdoors with which the Chinese government can spy on its American compeitition and technology. All of this has seen Huawei preparing its own operating system in case Google and the US decided to lift their license. Now that Google is doing it, what will Huawei do?

The Huawei OS is under construction, and should see the light of day by the end of 2019. However, Huawei has stated that the OS will run Android apps, but is "far from ready".

The Real Reason

Trump stated in his explanation of the move: "Huawei is something that’s very dangerous. You look at what they’ve done from a security standpoint, from a military standpoint, it’s very dangerous. So it’s possible that Huawei even would be included in some kind of a trade deal. If we made a deal, I could imagine Huawei being possibly included in some form, some part of a trade deal." 

According to the president, the threat coming from Huawei hardware is real, but how can a potential security threat be used as a bargaining chip in possibly lifting the ban? Sometimes security risks are very real, and intelligence communities need the trust of the general public. Using these massive restrictions as a way to get better conditions in the trade war with China would ruin that trust completely – and it is already on thin ice.

This kind of behaviour from the Trump White House is, to include golf lovers, par for the course.