US Bans Sale of Huawei, ZTE Telecom Equipment Over Fears of Chinese Military Link

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The US has tightened screws on Chinese companies like Huawei, ZTE, Hikvision, Hytera, and Dahua by ordering that communications equipment and video surveillance technology from them mus not be sold in the country.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced new rules that prohibit the use of equipment and technology from these companies as they "pose an unacceptable risk to national security from being authorised for importation or sale in the US".

Huawei Logo
Huawei Logo Wikimedia Commons

FCC had earlier designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats over their deemed links with the Chinese military.

National Security Threats

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

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

The US has long been waging a tough war on the Chinese telecom equipment firms over concerns about their links to the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).

Huawei
Huawei YouTube Grab

A report said in July this year that the FBI and other US agencies observed a dramatic escalation of Chinese activity on US soil. Since at least 2017, federal officials have investigated Chinese land purchases near critical infrastructure, shut down a high-profile regional consulate believed by the US government to be a hotbed of Chinese spies and stone-walled what they saw as clear efforts to plant listening devices near sensitive military and government facilities, the report had said.

Chinese Government Role

In 2020, FBI said there was a strong possibility that the telecom company would hand over sensitive information to Beijing."If Chinese companies like Huawei are given unfettered access to our telecommunications infrastructure, they could collect any of your information that traverses their devices or networks ... Worse still: They'd have no choice but to hand it over to the Chinese government, if asked," FBI Director Christopher Wray warned in 2020.

ZTE
ZTE Corp YouTube Grab

New FCC List

FCC has now published a list of banned products and services as well as companies that offer them. The list includes communications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corporation, Hytera Communications, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, and Dahua Technology.

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said the move has broad, bipartisan backing among the US congressional leadership. "Our unanimous decision represents the first time in the FCC's history that we have voted to prohibit the authorization of communications and electronic equipment based on national security considerations," Carr added.

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A worker is seen atop of a mobile phone tower REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Transmitting Sensitive Data to China

In July this year it was reported that Huawei was being investigated over concerns cell tower equipment from the company maybe transmitting sensitive data back to China. For years, the telecom giant, which allegedly has close ties with the Chinese military, has been in the crosshairs of the western governments. The US and its allies have virtually blocked Huawei from their next-generation wireless networks, while its revenue plummeted globally in the recent years as all regions except China saw dwindling sales of its smartphones and telecom gear.

This article was first published on November 26, 2022
Related topics : Huawei
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