FCC Ups the Ante to Ban Chinese Surveillance Gear, Other Products

Hikvision and Dahua, along with three other Chinese manufacturers, were targeted in a rulemaking order the FCC adopted in a 4-0 vote.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a plan that would further limit purchases of video surveillance equipment from Hikvision and Dahua Technology, plus telecommunications gear from Huawei, ZTE Corp. and Hytera Communications Corp.

The five Chinese manufacturers, which have been deemed by the FCC as a risk to national security, were targeted in an order the agency voted unanimously to adopt on June 17. The order would prohibit U.S. sales of specified video surveillance and telecommunications equipment from the companies. The action begins a period of review before a final vote on the matter.

The proposal also includes language that would allow the FCC to revoke its previous authorization for equipment from the companies. Such an action could entail non-conforming equipment would need to be removed from networks. The draft order did not specify how quickly affected gear would need to be removed; instead, it asked for comments on the “appropriate and reasonable transition period.”

The proposed ban is part of a greater effort by the federal government to secure U.S. telecommunications networks, amid concern that equipment made in China or services operated by Chinese companies could be used for espionage against Americans.

“We are taking direct action to exclude untrusted equipment and vendors from communications networks both at home and abroad,” FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel stated. “We are recognizing that ‘Just Say No’ is not a strategy, so we are moving fast to speed the way for trustworthy innovation.  We are also engaged in a multifaced effort across government, with industry, and with partner nations to protect our networks from threats.”

In an email to Bloomberg, Hikvision said its designation as a threat isn’t substantiated, and it “strongly opposes” the FCC measure. Dahua said it “does not and never has represented any type of threat to U.S. national security.” It called the FCC’s proceeding “unwarranted.”

Huawei said in a statement to Bloomberg that the proposed FCC steps were “misguided and unnecessarily punitive.”

Hytera told the media company its products “don’t impose any threats to any country’s national security” and called the FCC’s approach inconsistent with the U.S. government’s standard practice for evaluating and mitigating risk.

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