Using a new law cosponsored by a Louisiana congressman, the Federal Communications Commission banned the importation or sale of communications equipment manufactured in China by companies that pose an “unacceptable risk to national security.”
“The FCC’s important action finally starts to confront the significant threat China poses to Americans’ privacy and data security interests,” U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson and one of the four cosponsors of the measure, said Monday. “I am pleased to see the FCC take this unprecedented action and look forward to working with the Commission and other partners to address the continued threat China poses to America.”
The Secure Equipment Act, signed into law on November 11, 2021, gave the FCC the authority to stop reviewing and issuing new telecommunications equipment licenses to Chinese state-backed firms such as Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision and Dahua.
The four FCC commissioners voted unanimously last week to imposed the rule that effectively bans the sale or import of technology manufactured by several Chinese companies that make computers, phones, cameras, smart devices, internet cloud equipment, switches and other telecommunications equipment.
Though no evidence of espionage has been uncovered, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, headquartered in Shenzhen, China, for instance, is the world’s second largest manufacturer of cell phones and is linked to the People’s Liberation Army and the Ministry of State Security for financing and executives.
“Equipment made by Huawei and ZTE, companies linked to the Chinese Communist Party, increases the vulnerabilities of our telecommunication systems and puts the privacy and safety of Americans at risk,” said U.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, a California Democrat who worked on the bill with Scalise and U.S. Sen Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican.
The law uses the government’s constitutional duty to protect and defend the country to justify extending FCC regulation over the private sale of equipment.
“In our digitally connected world, these protections are essential to ensuring that our communications networks are safe and secure,” Markey said.