US FCC bans China Unicom Americas telecom over national security risks

Pierluigi Paganini January 29, 2022

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoked the license for the China Unicom Americas over serious national security concerns.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has revoked the license for China Unicom Americas over “serious national security concerns.” China Unicom is the world’s sixth-largest mobile service provider by subscriber base.

The telecom company is a foreign subsidiary of Chinese state-owned telecom company China Unicom that operated in tens of countries.

The Chinese telecom company was banned from providing telecommunication services within the United States. According to the FCC’s order, the Chinese company has to stop providing its services in the US within 60 days.

“First, the Order finds that China Unicom Americas, a U.S. subsidiary of a Chinese stateowned enterprise, is subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government and is highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese government requests without sufficient legal procedures subject to independent judicial oversight.” reads the order. “Second, given the changed national security environment with respect to China since the Commission authorized China UnicomAmericas to provide telecommunications services in the United States two decades ago, the Order finds that China Unicom Americas’ ownership and control by the Chinese government raise significant national security and law enforcement risks by providing opportunities for China Unicom Americas, its parent entities, and the Chinese government to access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute U.S. communications, which in turn allow them to engage in espionage and other harmful activities against the United States.”

The FCC’s order speculates the Chinese telco’s conduct threatens the level of trust that the Commission and other U.S. government agencies required for critical infrastructure operators, such as telecommunications carriers.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, China)

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