The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously on Friday to ban US sales of new Chinese telecommunications equipment and devices produced by Huawei and ZTE, as well as to restrict the use of other Chinese-made CCTV equipment, for reasons of national security.
The FCC report and order outlining the new rules say the agency has taken the step “to further secure our communications networks and supply chains from equipment that poses an unacceptable risk to states’ national security. United States or the safety and security of the people of the United States.”
Congress and the federal government have taken steps in recent years to limit the sale and import of equipment and devices produced by Chinese companies, citing concerns about the companies’ close ties to Beijing and the possibility that Malicious actors exploit technology vulnerabilities to conduct cyber espionage. operations or cyberattacks on US critical infrastructure.
“The FCC is committed to protecting our national security by ensuring that the use of unreliable communications equipment is not permitted inside our borders, and we are continuing that work here,” the FCC said. FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel in a press release. “These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications.”
While the FCC has taken steps in the past to crack down on the use of Chinese companies’ telecom equipment, including designating Huawei and ZTE as national security threats in June 2020, Friday’s announcement is the first time that the agency takes direct action to limit public access. to new devices about security risks.
“Our unanimous decision represents the first time in FCC history that we have voted to prohibit the authorization of new equipment on national security grounds,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said in a statement. Tweeter Friday.
Huawei and ZTE did not respond to requests for comment.
The new FCC rules implement the Secure Equipment Act directive, which President Joe Biden signed into law on Nov. 11, 2021. The law prohibits the FCC from reviewing or issuing new equipment licenses to companies if they can be found on its “Covered Equipment or Service Listing.” The five Chinese companies targeted by the FCC – Huawei and ZTE, along with Hikvision, Dahua and Hytera – were added to the covered list on March 12, 2021.
Although federal agencies were previously prohibited in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act fiscal year from using equipment or services provided by the five companies, a report by the Center for Security and Emerging Technology from Georgetown University in October found that at least 1,681 states and local governments across 49 states purchased technology from banned companies between 2015 and 2021.
The rules, which cover the sale and import of the companies’ new equipment and devices, will apply to “future authorizations of equipment identified on the Covered List,” according to the FCC. The ban does not apply to previously licensed equipment from the five companies, although the FCC’s report and order say the agency also adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to, in part, “request further comments on possible additional revisions to the rules and procedures associated with prohibiting the authorization of “covered” equipment in our Equipment Authorization Program.”
In addition to banning new Huawei and ZTE equipment, the order also restricts sales and imports of new “CCTV and telecommunications equipment” made by Hikvision, Dahua and Hytera.
“For these three companies, we will require them to document the safeguards they will put in place when marketing or selling for these purposes, and we are putting in place a freeze on all their applications for authorization of telecommunications equipment. and CCTV until this work is completed. done,” Rosenworcel said.
In a statement to Nextgova Hikvision spokesperson said the company’s video products “pose no threat to security in the United States and there is no technical or legal justification for the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to withdraw Hikvision’s future products from the equipment authorization process”.
“This FCC decision will do nothing to protect the national security of the United States, but will do much to make it more harmful and more costly for American small businesses, local authorities, school districts and individual consumers to protect themselves. themselves, their homes, businesses and property,” the spokesperson added. “Hikvision USA will continue to serve its channel partners and customers in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”
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