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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finalized a rule that would block Huawei, ZTE, Hikvision, and Dahua from importing and selling certain technology that the board viewed as posing a potential threat to national security.
“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,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement.
The rule affects new authorizations of equipment from the companies and does not necessarily apply to anything that had previously been authorized. Brendan Carr, one of the Republicans on the FCC, said on Twitter that he hoped the board would look at revoking previous authorizations.
Huawei, a Chinese multinational telecommunications company, has long been under scrutiny as a possible arm of the Chinese Communist Party. Earlier this year, it was reported that the Biden administration was investigating Huawei for allegedly harvesting data from U.S. military bases and missile silos.
The rule means that no new tech from ZTE or Huawei can be approved and surveillance equipment from Dahua and Hikvision won’t be used for government or public safety purposes.
Carr also said that the decision was the first time the panel had banned a product because of national security fears.
“Our unanimous decision represents the first time in FCC history that we have voted to prohibit the authorization of new equipment based on national security concerns,” Carr tweeted.
He noted that “no new Huawei or ZTE equipment can be approved. And no new Dahua, Hikvision, or Hytera gear can be approved unless they assure the FCC that their gear won’t be used for public safety, security of government facilities, & other national security purposes.”
Hikvision, a Chinese-state owned surveillance company, denied that any of its products endanger national security.
“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 U.S. small businesses, local authorities, school districts, and individual consumers to protect themselves, their homes, businesses and property,” the company said.
Concern about Huawei was first brought to the forefront during the Trump administration, which took several steps to limit the reach of the company, which has also faced opposition across the world. In 2020, the U.K. took steps to ban Huawei from being linked to the country’s 5G networks.