FCC Bans Huawei And ZTE Over National Security Concerns

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finally brought the hammer down on communications technology manufactured by Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE Telecom.

On Friday, the FCC unanimously issued a sweeping ban on the importation or sale of several technological products deemed an “unacceptable risk” to national security. Restrictions were also implemented on certain Chinese surveillance systems.

The moves to protect national security began under the administration of former President Donald Trump, but the Biden administration has been slow to move forward with restrictions.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said the agency is working “to protect our national security by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized” for sale or use within U.S. borders.

Brendan Carr, a Republican FCC commissioner, tweeted that the action is the first time in agency history the authorization of new technology has been barred due to national security concerns.

A statement released by the FCC said that the banned products present an “unacceptable risk to (the) national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.”

In addition to Huawei and ZTE, China-based Hytera, Hikvision and Dahua are also affected.

These five were barred by Congress in 2018 from supplying equipment to federal agencies over security concerns. Under the new regulations, private entities are no longer permitted to import the items to the U.S.

Most of the affected companies had no response, but Hikvision released a statement condemning the action by the U.S. government. The firm claimed its products pose no security risk, but banning its wares will lead to cost increases for small businesses, schools, and individual consumers.

The new regulations fall in line with actions taken by the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. All determined use of Huawei’s tech products poses substantial security risks, particularly to the latest 5G networks.

Despite President Joe Biden’s recent meeting with Xi, it is critically important for the White House to understand that China is not a U.S. ally. At best, it is a trading partner, and more realistically it is a military rival for which security concerns must outweigh the desire for inexpensive tech.