US bans Chinese telecommunications technology because of cybersecurity risks

    (TNS) — Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. have been banned by regulators from selling electronic devices in the United States because they pose a security risk, continuing a years-long effort to limit Chinese telecommunications companies’ access to US networks.

    The Federal Communications Commission, in an order published Friday, also named connected camera suppliers Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. and Dahua Technology Co., as well as two-way radio maker Hytera Communications Corp.

    “The FCC is committed to protecting our national security by ensuring that untrusted communications devices are not allowed within our borders, and we are continuing that work here, ” President Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release. “These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from telecommunications-related national security threats.”

    In a 4-0 vote, the FCC concluded that the products pose a risk to data security. Previous efforts to limit China’s access included export controls to cut off critical, sophisticated software and equipment. Recently, US officials considered restrictions on TikTok over concerns that Chinese authorities could access US user data through the video-sharing app.


    “This is a top-notch act,” said Klon Kitchen, a senior fellow at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, a public policy think tank. “Things that started under Trump are now being done. The Biden administration is continuing to squeeze these companies because the threat has not changed.” Huawei declined to comment, while Hikvision did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Dahua, Hytera and ZTE did not respond to emails sent outside of normal business hours in China.

    An unnamed US official said the FCC’s impending move was not mentioned during a bilateral meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Indonesia last week. Biden discussed technology issues more widely with Xi, and it was clear that the United States would continue to act to protect its national security, the official said.

    “This is the death knell for all of them for their operations in the United States,” said Conor Healy, government research director for the IPVM surveillance research group based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “They won’t be able to introduce any new products into the US.”


    Healy said Dahua and Hikvision would be most affected because their cameras are widely used, often by government agencies with multiple surveillance facilities. Agencies including the police also use handheld Hytera radios, he said.

    Under its order, the FCC also requested comment on whether to revoke existing device licenses, Rosenworcel said in an online statement.

    According to Healy, sellers could be stuck with illegally sold equipment.

    In 2018, Congress voted to prevent federal agencies from buying equipment from five companies named by the FCC. The agency said earlier that the companies were not eligible for federal subsidies and had also banned Chinese phone companies from doing business in the US.

    The agency said Friday’s order is required under the bill Biden signed in November 2021.

    With support from Josh Wingrove.

    ©2022 Bloomberg LP, distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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