Chinese telcos and Kaspersky Lab added to FCC’s suspect list

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The US has thrown further problems in the path of both China Telecom and China Mobile by identifying their equipment and services “a threat to national security”.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) included Russian cyber security company Kaspersky Lab in its list.

Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said: “Today’s action is the latest in the FCC’s ongoing efforts, as part of the greater whole-of-government approach, to strengthen America’s communications networks against national security threats, including examining the foreign ownership of telecommunications companies providing service in the United States and revoking the authorization to operate where necessary.”

The FCC had already denied China Mobile a licence to operate telecoms networks in the US, and has withdrawn an existing licence from China Telecom.

But the addition of Kaspersky is new – seen as a reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

The ruling is governed by the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019, said Rosenworcel. “Last year, for the first time, the FCC published a list of communications equipment and services that pose an unacceptable risk to national security, and we have been working closely with our national security partners to review and update this list.”

Commissioner Brendan Carr welcomed the news. “The FCC plays a critical role in securing our nation’s communications networks, and keeping our covered list up to date is an important tool we have at our disposal to do just that,” he said.

The covered list identifies entities that are seen as posing “an unacceptable risk to US national security”, says the FCC. Carr said: “In particular, I am pleased that our national security agencies agreed with my assessment that China Mobile and China Telecom appeared to meet the threshold necessary to add these entities to our list.”

The covered list now includes equipment or services from Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hangzhou Hikvision and Dahua Technology as well as the three additions.