FCC bans new Chinese telecom equipment from US, citing ‘national security concerns’

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on Friday that it is banning new imports of Chinese-made telecommunications equipment because it is capable of spying on U.S. military sites. 

The FCC implemented the new rules because the equipment poses an “unacceptable risk to national security,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said Friday.

The new rules will effectively prohibit at least five Chinese-owned companies from operating in the U.S., including Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua.

Previous regulations had tried to limit the companies and prevent the suspicious tech from entering the U.S., but had not gone far enough to stop it entirely.

Changing practices

“While we’ve flagged equipment as posing a national security risk, prohibited companies from using federal funds to purchase them, and even stood up programs to replace them, for the last several years the FCC has continued to put its stamp of approval on this equipment through its equipment authorization process,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. 

“But that does not make any sense,” she added.

“This decision was not taken lightly,” director of government research at surveillance research firm IPVM Conor Healy said. “This is one of the few issues in the last couple of years that Republicans and Democrats completely agree on, and the reason for that is that the security threats are real.”

CNN previously reported that a July FBI investigation found evidence that Huawei equipment placed on cell towers could possibly capture Department of Defense communications, including information related to nuclear launch sites.

At long last

This has apparently been possible since the Obama administration and went on all through the Trump administration as well.

The decision to stop it was unanimous, which is rare for the FCC.

Carr said it was the “first time in FCC history” that authorization of new equipment has been denied because of national security concerns.