U.S. President Biden signed the Secure Equipment Act of 2021 in November and it will implement additional restrictions on companies, including Huawei, ZTE, Hikvision and Dahua and Hytera.
The U.S. government has banned certain brands of Chinese telecommunications and video surveillance equipment in response to emerging cyber threats. The Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted on Friday to ban the sale and import of Chinese technology from firms that pose an "unacceptable risk to the national security" of the United States.
Companies listed under the FCC's "Covered List" will be prohibited from exporting new products into the United States. These companies are required to assure that their devices won't be used for public safety and government facilities. Existing equipment, is not affected by the new policy, but it is possible that authorizing could be revoked in the future.
U.S. intelligence agencies believe the Chinese firms, which are subject to China's laws, can be forced to hand over information to Beijing's security services, although the companies have denied this. U.S. lawmakers have also criticized how Beijing authorities widely use Chinese technology to commit human rights abuses within its borders. Cameras manufactured by Hikvision have been linked with the oppression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang province.
The FCC is continuing to work on preventing untrustworthy communications equipment from being authorized for use within the United States borders. In addition, we're taking action to help protect American citizens from national security threats that involve telecommunications.
When reached for comment by TechCrunch, Huawei declined to comment. Hikvision, Dahua, Hyerta and ZTE did not respond.
The latest regulatory move by Washington politicians reflects their continued struggle to see the Chinese tech giants for what they really are: a major threat to the security and privacy of the American people.
In 2019, the Trump administration put Huawei on the Commerce Department’s ITAR list, banning the company from U.S. networks over their close relationship with the Chinese government. The following year, the FCC ordered U.S. telcos to stop using equipment from Chinese manufacturers, including Huawei and ZTE, and began efforts to revoke China Telecom’s license to operate in the United States. The FCC has banned even more Chinese companies this year, including China Unicom and Pacific Network.
Recently, the U.S. government signaled that it is considering action against TikTok. FCC commissioner Brendan Carr recently said in an interview that he believes US lawmakers should also ban the app in the U.S. due to potential mishandling of personal and sensitive data by China-based parent company ByteDance.