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America tightens the screw on Chinese telecom firms


The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced the banning of telecom and video surveillance equipment from prominent Chinese brands.

In what is another high-pressure move on Chinese telecom companies, the FCC has cited unacceptable risks to national security as it banned Huawei and ZTE Corp from selling electronics in the US.

Communications equipment produced by Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua can no longer be used in the country, too.

"The FCC is committed to protecting our national security by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders, and we are continuing that work here," FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said.

"These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications."

The FCC has also outlawed the use of public funds to purchase aforementioned equipment or services in the US and launched the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program to remove insecure equipment that has already been installed in US networks.

“By stopping equipment identified as a threat to the United States from entering our markets, we significantly decrease the risk that it can be used against us. Ultimately, if it can’t get authorized, it can’t be deployed,” FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said in a statement.

Washington has been raising the pressure on Chinese tech companies for quite some time now. That’s because researchers, analysts, and intelligence agencies have been warning for years that the Chinese government might use Chinese-made devices to spy on Americans.

In 2019, the US added Huawei to a list of companies with which American firms can no longer trade without a license, and in 2020, the government banned federal agencies from buying goods or services from five Chinese companies – Hytera, Huawei, Hikvision, ZTE Corp, and Dahua.

The United Kingdom is acting in a similar fashion. The country’s Parliament has instructed government agencies to cease the deployment of Chinese equipment – CCTV cameras, for instance – onto sensitive sites.

Experts fear that cameras by companies like Hikvision in the UK collect facial recognition data and “can then be used by the Chinese government.” Hikvision rejects any concerns and, as a rule, urges other parties “to move away from outdated Cold War stereotypes.”


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