>> Top US research universities, strained by a loss of federal funding, are ripping out telecom equipment made by Huawei and other Chinese companies to comply with new Trump administration backed legislation, aimed at slowing China's access to American technology.>> I'm Jane Lanehee Lee in San Francisco. The FBI has for years warned universities of the risk of tech theft by Chinese companies funding academic research at US universities.
And last year, 26 members of Congress sent a letter to the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, sounding an alarm over Huawei's research partnerships with more than 50 US universities that quote, threaten national security. But it's the National Defense Authorization Act passed in August last year that's really pushing universities to take action.
Under that law, federal agencies and those receiving federal grants or contracts must remove remove telecommunication equipment by Huawei or ZTE and video surveillance equipment by Dahua, Hikvision, and Hytera. And even though the law doesn't ban partnerships with those companies, less than a week after the law passed UC San Diego issued a memo internally calling for a six month ban on any agreement, gift, or funds from those companies, according to the memo seen by Reuters.
UC Berkeley, which is removed Huawei video conferencing equipment, officially says it's not planning to change its research partnerships with Huawei. But one source told Reuters, some Berkeley researchers are choosing not to continue their Huawei research agreements. Huawei and ZTE have been accused by Washington of selling equipment that can spy on Americans, although the companies have both denied the charges.
It's not just US universities getting jittery about Chinese companies. Across the Atlantic, Oxford University said earlier this month that it will not pursue new funding opportunities with Huawei.