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Huawei Cybersecurity Center in Brussels. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
After dramatic U.S. moves to shut Huawei off from suppliers, the Chinese telecom manufacturer received a 90-day reprieve from the Department of Commerce Monday, placing a question mark over the broader anti-Huawei campaign.
Why it matters: A similar previous U.S.-China trade tussle flipped from confrontation to accommodation, leaving experts and lawmakers wondering what the mercurial Trump administration's endgame with Huawei will be.
The big picture: The Huawei case and last year's ZTE conflict seem to share the same outline: A massive Chinese telecom manufacturer accused by the United States of violating sanctions and participating in espionage gets struck with a ban on U.S. technology exports, only to be saved at the last second.
Driving the news: Last week, Huawei was placed on the Department of Commerce's entity list, requiring U.S. firms wishing to sell or license tech to Huawei to get export licenses most assume will be impossible or at least prohibitively burdensome to obtain.
What's next: "My bet is a ZTE-like resurrection," said James Lewis, senior vice president for the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former tech policy official, via email.
Meanwhile: At the same time the Trump administration banned U.S. companies from providing goods to Huawei, it also released an executive order declaring a "state of emergency" banning U.S. networks from using telecommunications equipment deemed to be a risk to national security. Most people in the know assume this was aimed specifically at Huawei.
Generally, Huawei is thought to be in a better position to weather a U.S. export ban than ZTE was. But that position may not be as strong as once thought.
The big picture: A leaked memo first reported by BBC shows British chip designer ARM has severed ties with Huawei because its designs contain U.S. intellectual property.
This is a huge deal, because Huawei's ability to make its own chips — one of the key resources the firm has to survive a ban on Qualcomm and Intel chips — is dependent on ARM.
CNEX, a chip startup funded by Microsoft and Dell, accused a Huawei executive of stealing intellectual property in a pre-trial hearing for a lawsuit headed to court in June.
Why it matters: Obviously (see above) it already wasn't the easiest month for Huawei. The Wall Street Journal, which brought the CNEX suit to light, on Wednesday described new allegations from a hearing that took place in April.
According to the Journal:
The border barrier between the U.S. (L) and Mexico. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Last week, The Daily Beast spurred an outcry when it reported that CISA, the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity-protection agency, had requested volunteers to aid the department's efforts at the border.
But, but, but: Although CISA got a total of 20 volunteers from the 3,500-person department, only "one or two" of them focused on cybersecurity, according to CISA director Christopher Krebs, who spoke to reporters after a conference on Wednesday.
The bottom line: The Trump administration's border policy is controversial and has had clear effects on military readiness, commerce and American global leadership. But the impact on Homeland Security's cybersecurity operations appears to be minimal.
Hacktivism — when activist groups like Anonymous use cyber disruption for political means — declined 95% between 2015 and 2018, according to a report by IBM.
Details: There are a variety of reasons for the decline.
IBM notes that attacks are up in 2019 — not up to 2015 levels, but up from 2018 — spurred in part by the arrest of Julian Assange and a campaign against Saudi targets.