NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Amidst public discourse surrounding allegations of China using Caribbean cell phones to “spy” on Americans, US Embassy Public Affairs Officer Daniel Durazo in a statement yesterday cautioned countries not to allow “untrusted” vendors to access their communications networks.
“As Secretary of State Pompeo has said, allowing untrusted, high-risk vendors into telecommunications networks makes critical systems vulnerable to disruption, manipulation and espionage, and puts sensitive government, commercial and personal information at risk,” he said.
“Countries need to be able to trust that equipment and software companies will not threaten national security, privacy, intellectual property or human rights.
“Trust cannot exist where telecom vendors are subject to an authoritarian government, like the PRC (People’s Republic of China), that lacks an independent judiciary or rule of law that would effectively prohibit this misuse of data.
“That’s why the US is promoting the Clean Network initiative.
“As Undersecretary of State Keith Krach has said: ‘In the area of global technology security, the Clean Network serves as a model of turning the tide against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) surveillance state and corrupt vendors such as Huawei and ZTE. The Clean Network is a growing alliance of democracies and companies coming together to safeguard national security, intellectual property and personal data from aggressive intrusions by malign actors, like the Chinese Communist Party.’”
On Tuesday, UK-based news company The Guardian published an article entitled “Revealed: China suspected of spying on Americans via Caribbean phone networks”.
According to the article, a mobile network security expert claims “China appears to have used mobile phone networks in the Caribbean to surveil US mobile phone subscribers as part of its espionage campaign against Americans”.
The Chinese Embassy in The Bahamas issued a statement rejecting those claims and dismissing the allegations as an attempt by the US to “sow discord between China and Caribbean countries”.