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FCC expands ban on Chinese monitoring devices in unanimous vote

FCC expands ban on Chinese monitoring devices in unanimous vote

FCC expands ban on Chinese monitoring devices in unanimous vote

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Nov. 25, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to expand its existing ban on telecommunications and monitoring equipment from Huawei and several other Chinese companies, citing unacceptable national security risks.

Original limitations and bans on equipment sales for the companies began as early as late 2019 under the Trump administration and the Biden administration has thus far seen fit to expand those bans which include last Friday’s vote. The FCC described the action as part of their efforts to build a more secure and resilient supply chain of communications equipment and services in the US.

“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,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a release issued by the FCC.  “These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications.”

Companies affected by the expanded ruling include Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corporation, Hytera Communications, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, and Dahua Technology. The expanded rules prohibit the authorization of equipment through the FCC’s Certification process. It still allows the sale of products that have already been authorized for sale, however the FCC is requiring the companies to document all safeguards put in place for marketing or sale purposes and put a freeze on existing equipment authorization applications until that documentation has been completed.

In addition, the FCC wrote that, “The Commission also adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking further comment on additional revisions that should be made to the rules and procedures prohibiting the authorization of ‘covered’ equipment.  It also seeks further comment on potential revisions to the Commission’s competitive bidding program.  The Commission is also seeking comment on future action related to existing authorizations.”

Edit: Following publication of the original article, a public spokesperson from Hikvision produced the following statement, "As stated previously, Hikvision video security products present no security threat to the United States and there is no technical or legal justification for the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to remove Hikvision’s future products from the equipment authorization process. This decision by the FCC will do nothing to protect U.S. national security, but will do a great deal to make it more harmful and more expensive for US small businesses, local authorities, school districts, and individual consumers to protect themselves, their homes, businesses and property. Hikvision USA will continue to serve its distributor partners and customers in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations."       

Furthermore Dahua issued its own response to the FCC's order writing, "Dahua is continuing to review the FCC’s order, but based on our current analysis we believe that the actions taken in the Order go far beyond the Commission’s statutory authority, and will do little or nothing to protect U.S. national security. However, the FCC’s Order does not affect products that are already authorized, and leaves open a path for Dahua to secure authorizations for additional products in the future, provided they are not marketed for public safety, government facilities, critical infrastructure, or national security purposes."

Dahua added, "Given that Dahua’s products are not currently marketed for those purposes and have not been for several years, we are reasonably confident that this Order will allow us to continue to serve most of our US customers for years to come."

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