Washington Redskins Free Wi-Fi Deal With Huawei Allegedly Collapsed Over Security Fears

Huawei is a Chinese company that makes smartphones and networking equipment, and has close ties to the Chinese government. A new report has surfaced that claims a deal between Huawei and the Washington Redskins NFL team was axed after a U.S. government complaint.

The deal would have reportedly seen fans at the stadium where the team plays home games get free Wi-Fi. The deal fell through, in 2014, after the NFL team was warned that Huawei posed a cybersecurity threat according to a source familiar with the matter. So far, the U.S. government and its agencies that have been issuing these warnings have offered no concrete proof that Chinese intelligence agencies have infiltrated Huawei phones and networking gear, but that hasn't stopped private companies and mobile carriers from taking the advice and staying away from Huawei.

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Reports claim that Michael Wessel of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission raised warning flags about the deal when Huawei issued press releases and tweets that talked about the partnership. The reason that Wessell sounded the alarm on the deal was reported to be because he knew that FedEx Field where the Redskins play was commonly visited by federal officials. Reports indicate an "unofficial federal complaint" was sent to the Redskins organization and that after that was received, the Redskins backed out of the deal.

Instead of Huawei, the deal for Wi-Fi in the stadium went to Verizon and Cisco. Since the U.S. government hasn't provided evidence to support the continued claims that Huawei poses a security threat, some see it as a way to prevent foreign competition in the U.S. Yet, having a Chinese company with ties to the Chinese government operating a wireless network in a public location that U.S. government staff frequent is a reason for concern.

The U.S. government has been actively working to prevent Huawei from getting a foothold inside the U.S. over concerns of security and possible spying by the Chinese government. Last month the U.S. petitioned its allies to reject Huawei devices due to spying concerns. Last summer the government urged Google to disengage with Huawei over similar fears of spying.