U.S. officials cannot decide whether Honor smartphones are a threat to national security. Engadget

Late last year, Chinese electronics maker Huawei sold its mobile brand Honor to ensure it would survive the US-sanctioned sanctions against its own company. The move has enabled the brand to work with companies such as Qualcomm and Intel to acquire chips and other critical components for its phones, laptops and portable devices. But now Honor can also be in trouble.

According to The Washington Post, officials at four federal agencies voted last week on whether to place the business on the Department of Commerce’s entity list. By ending up there, Honor will prevent them from collaborating with American companies. The Post reported the voice went evenly in the middle. Officials from the Pentagon and the Department of Energy were reportedly in favor of putting the business on the list, while their counterparts at the Department of Commerce and the State Department did not.

With the deadlock, it is now up to the political appointments at the agencies to decide what to do. If they can not make a decision, the issue could eventually go to President Joe Biden’s desk.

The Department of Commerce declined to comment on the vote. The comments issued the agency on it. Instead, it spoke more broadly on the subject of the entity list, noting that it was constantly reviewing the risk of a nominated company illegally sharing U.S. technology. ‘We remain committed to using a full range of tools, including. . . export controls, to reduce efforts by the [People‚Äôs Republic of China] and other countries … that want to leverage technology in a way that could harm U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, ‘said Brittany Caplin, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Eventually, those who end up with the case that Honor should end up on the entity list may struggle to convince their peers that the company is a threat to national security for the US. Unlike its one-time parent, Honor does not sell telecommunications equipment to service providers. This means that it is not involved in the 5G network builds that were apparently at the center of the decision to place Huawei there. In addition, the products are not even available in the US.

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