No ban: IEEE gives Huawei employees the all-clear

Engineering body gives the tick of approval to Huawei and its affiliates.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The latest on-again, off-again ban on Huawei and its workers has resolved itself with Huawei employees no longer banned by the IEEE.

Last week, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) said it would adhere to US law by bringing the ban in.

"IEEE complies with US government regulations which restrict the ability of the listed Huawei companies and their employees to participate in certain activities that are not generally open to the public," it said at the time.

"This includes certain aspects of the publication peer review and editorial process."

However, on Sunday, the organisation said it had received clarification from the US Department of Commerce that it could lift the ban.

"Based on this new information, employees of Huawei and its affiliates may participate as peer reviewers and editors in our publication process. All IEEE members, regardless of employer, can continue to participate in all of the activities of the IEEE," it said.

"Our initial, more restrictive approach was motivated solely by our desire to protect our volunteers and our members from legal risk. With the clarification received, this risk has been addressed."

Huawei had faced a number of bans that were subsequently lifted after the US Department of Commerce added the Chinese giant to its Entity List, meaning US companies needed a licence to sell or transfer technology to it.

Last month, Google removed support for its Android mobile operating system, before a temporary licence was granted.

Last week, Huawei filed a motion seeking to have the section of the US National Defense Authorization Act 2019 (NDAA) affecting it be dismissed as unconstitutional. That section enforces a ban on US federal agencies and their contractors from using Huawei equipment due to security concerns.

In the motion, Huawei argues that section 889 of the NDAA specifically targets Huawei, saying the legislation disrupts the company's existing contracts; stigmatises the company and its employees as supposed tools of the Chinese government; and seriously threatens the company's ability to do business in the US.

"They are using every tool they have, including legislative, administrative, and diplomatic channels. They want to put us out of business," Huawei chief legal officer Song Liuping said in a statement.

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