Published: Sat, April 06, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

MIT Cancels Huawei, ZTE Research Projects

MIT Cancels Huawei, ZTE Research Projects

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

The decision was revealed as part of a note from Richard Lester and Maria Zuber, the Massachusetts-based university's associate provost and vice president for research, respectively, about a "new review process for "elevated-risk" worldwide proposals".

"The Institute will revisit collaborations with these entities as circumstances dictate", they wrote. They will examine factors such as risks "related to intellectual property, export controls, data security and access, economic competitiveness, national security, and political, civil and human rights".

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Maria Zuber, vice president for research at Cambridge, Massachusetts, college, revealed the decision in a letter outlining its new review process for "elevated-risk" global projects.

The administrators also said that the university had determined that working with certain countries - particularly China, Russia and Saudi Arabia - "merit additional faculty and administrative review beyond the usual evaluations".

The sanctions were lifted after ZTE paid US$1.4 billion in penalties.

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Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is suspending its funding and research partnership with Huawei and ZTE amid government investigation, which is still ongoing.

U.S. prosecutors have also accused Huawei and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, of violating United States sanctions on Iran.

A Huawei spokesman said the company is disappointed by MIT's decision, but realizes the university is under greater scrutiny. Washington has been urging allies to restrict or ban the use of Huawei equipment in their 5G networks, alleging Beijing could use the company's products to spy on other nations.

While MIT is far from the only game in town for tech companies looking to partner with academia, the school's influential status could lead other universities, such as Stanford or CalTech, to follow suit and introduce more restrictive policies of their own.

Huawei meanwhile is suing the USA government over a ban on the use of its telecoms products, in efforts to push back against what it says are baseless U.S. allegations against the firm.

A spokesperson for Huawei said: 'Huawei is aware of a range of United States government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei's business in the United States market.

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