The U.S. FCC considers Huawei and ZTE as national security threats

Pierluigi Paganini July 01, 2020

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that Chinese telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE are considered as national security threats.

Last week China accused the US government of “oppressing Chinese companies” after U.S. regulators declared Huawei and ZTE to be national security threats.

The Federal Communications Commission blocked the Chinese companies from receiving subsidies from a government fund.

“We once again urge the United States to stop abusing the concept of national security, deliberately discrediting China and unreasonably oppressing Chinese companies,” said the foreign ministry spokesman spokesman, Zhao Lijian.

The FCC confirms its efforts to protect the national communications networks from security risks posed by the use of Chinese equipment.

The FCC’s move definitively bans U.S. organizations from using government Universal Service Fund for acquiring equipment or services provided by the Chinese firms.

In November 2019, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has cut off government funding for equipment from the Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE due to security concerns. The Federal Communications Commission also requested the government to assign subsidies to the American companies that will replace any equipment from the Chinese firms that they already have in place.

The FCC fears that the Chinese firms could conduct cyber espionage for their government due to their “substantial ties to the Chinese government,”

“With today’s Orders, and based on the overwhelming weight of evidence, the Bureau has designated Huawei and ZTE as national security risks to America’s communications networks—and to our 5G future,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

“Both companies have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military apparatus, and both companies are broadly subject to Chinese law obligating them to cooperate with the country’s intelligence services. The Bureau also took into account the findings and actions of Congress, the Executive Branch, the intelligence community, our allies, and communications service providers in other countries. We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure,” Pai explained. “Today’s action will also protect the FCC’s Universal Service Fund—money that comes from fees paid by American consumers and businesses on their phone bills—from being used to underwrite these suppliers, which threaten our national security.”

The U.S. has already pushed its allies for banning Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese companies.

The Chinese giant Huawei was already excluded by several countries from building their 5G internet networks. The United StatesAustraliaNew ZealandRomania, and Japan announced the exclusion of Huawei technology for their 5G internet networks.

In April 2018, the UK GCHQ intelligence agency warned UK telcos firms of the risks of using ZTE equipment and services for their infrastructure.

In December 2018, a Czech cyber-security agency is warned against using Huawei and ZTE technologies because they pose a threat to state security.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Huawei)

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