As US bans Huawei, is it safe to buy one of their laptops?

In May, Huawei landed on the Department of Commerce’s Entity List, which prevents the Chinese company from buying components and technology from U.S. companies without the Commerce Department’s approval.

The U.S. asserts that Huawei poses “a significant risk of involvement in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.”

Huawei disagrees with the action. “This decision…will do significant economic harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business, affect tens of thousands of American jobs, and disrupt the current collaboration and mutual trust that exist on the global supply chain,” Huawei told Fox News in a statement.

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The company, which is the second largest smartphone maker in the world, is also a major laptop supplier. It makes models like the MateBook X Pro, which has received high praise from reviewers in the U.S. That laptop is being sold online by the Microsoft Store, among other places, but the launch of the Huawei MateBook 13 was recently canceled due to the U.S. ban, according to reports.

So, should you buy a Huawei laptop?

The answer to that question has two parts. The first is practical - there's limited availability of Huawei laptops in the U.S. because of the ban. The MateBook X Pro is still available online at the Microsoft Store and Huawei told Fox News that it will continue to provide after-sales service on all Huawei and Honor brand PCs that are currently on the market.

"Our consumers can rest assured that they will continue receiving support for their existing and newly purchased devices," a Huawei spokesman said.

Microsoft and Intel told Fox News that they will continue to support Huawei products, despite effectively being banned by the U.S. government.

The second part of the answer is a matter of security. In short, is Huawei spying on you or engaging in activity that is contrary to the national security of the U.S.?

“I wouldn’t buy one, since you don’t know what is inside,” James Lewis, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Fox News. “It’s a question of trust and whether the Chinese government has forced the manufacturer to install some kind of surveillance technology.”

In this photo taken Thursday, May 16, 2019, a man walks past by a Huawei store in Beijing. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

In this photo taken Thursday, May 16, 2019, a man walks past by a Huawei store in Beijing. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

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At an individual level, it's probably not a much of a risk, Lewis added. “If you don’t mind the risk of the Chinese government potentially listening in – and for most people, there is almost no risk – then you can use it.”

Klon Kitchen, a senior research fellow for science, technology and national security at the Heritage Foundation, said there is no way he would use any Huawei device.

“I wouldn't use a Huawei device of any kind,” he said. “The company has been clearly shown to be willing to use their consumer products and services as an extension of China's Intelligence, military and foreign policy enterprises.”

“Huawei is in the technical spying business; plain and simple. No one should trust them,” Kitchen added.

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