The Chinese telecom firms Pacific Networks Corp, its wholly-owned subsidiary ComNet (USA) LLC, and China Unicom (Americas) have been identified by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as dangers to American national security, the regulator announced on Tuesday.
According to the FCC, the enterprises face hazards to national security as well as being used, influenced, and controlled by the Chinese government. In addition, they expressed worries that both "will be forced to comply with Chinese government requests for communications intercepts, without the ability to challenge such requests."
The designations are in accordance with a 2019 law intended to safeguard American communications networks. The FCC initially included Huawei Technologies Co., ZTE Corp., Hytera Communications Corp., Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co. on its so-called "Covered List" in March 2021.
The American regulatory body voted earlier this year to revoke the permission of Pacific Networks, ComNet, and China Unicom's American subsidiary to conduct business in the country due to national security concerns.
The action, according to FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, is essential for shielding American communications networks from dangers to foreign national security. "We are taking additional action to close the door to these companies."
China Telecom (Americas) Corp., China Mobile International USA, and Russia's AO Kaspersky Lab were added to the list of companies covered by the FCC in March. The FCC also terminated China Telecom (AmericasU.S. )'s permission in October 2021, and in 2019, China Mobile's application to offer telecommunications services in the United States was denied due to national security concerns.
If a company is on the covered list, funds from the $8 billion Universal Service Fund administered by the FCC may not be utilized to acquire or maintain items from that company. The fund provides telecommunications support for low-income consumers, rural areas, and institutions including hospitals, libraries, and schools.
The FCC "abused state power and maliciously attacked Chinese telecom operators again without factual basis," the Chinese Embassy in Washington stated earlier this year. The U.S. should immediately stop its unjustified suppression of Chinese firms, the embassy urged.
Requests for a response from the Chinese embassy in Washington and the American attorneys representing China Unicom and Pacific Networks were not immediately returned.
The departments of Justice and Defense raised concerns that the current cumbersome procedure and what they referred to as an ad hoc, the case-by-case approach was insufficient to prevent adversaries from exploiting the Border Gateway Protocol, which is used to find the fastest ways to deliver network traffic but can also be used to access and exfiltrate sensitive data when misdirected.