Thursday, May 3, 2018

FCC wants Chinese tech out of US phones, routers

FCC wants Chinese tech   out of US phones, routers

Passersby walking by a logo of Chinese technology company Huawei.
U.S. officials are discouraging U.S. telephone and internet companies from purchasing Chinese technology that could be used for surveillance, Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai announced Monday.
“Threats to national security posed by certain communications equipment providers are a matter of bipartisan concern,” Pai said. “Hidden ‘back doors’ to our networks in routers, switches — and virtually any other type of telecommunications equipment — can provide an avenue for China to inject viruses, launch denial-of-service attacks, steal data, and more.”
Image result for Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai
Pai plans for the FCC to vote next month on a rule that would bar U.S. companies from using a federal subsidy program to purchase equipment from companies entangled with foreign intelligence agencies. The proposed rule is being considered in light of congressional concern that AT&T and Verizon might purchase phones or other hardware from Huawei, a company that the U.S. intelligence community believes is in cooperation with Chinese spies.
“I believe that the FCC has the responsibility to ensure that this money is not spent on equipment or services that pose a threat to national security,” Pai said.
House and Senate Intelligence Committee members urged Pai to impede such sales, a case that the U.S. intelligence community bolstered by briefing the FCC on Huawei’s suspected role in Chinese surveillance efforts .
“As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, it was made clear to me that Huawei cannot be trusted and would pose a security threat if given access to U.S. government networks,” Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, said Monday. “The FCC’s decision to not use Huawei products is an important step in protecting it from possible security breaches, and I fully support them in this.”
Verizon and AT&T scrapped their Huawei plans in January, a month after lawmakers asked Pai to review the deals.
“We will continue working with the FCC and other agencies to address supply chain vulnerability issues,” USTelecom, a trade association representing the broadband industry, said Monday. “Consumers and businesses alike correctly expect their information is secure when traveling across networks, and USTelecom will continue participating in government- and industry-wide efforts to construct responsible, reasonable and effective solutions.”
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who has sounded the alarm about the spy threat posed by Chinese tech companies , praised Pai’s proposal as a victory for individual privacy and national security. “Now Congress should do its part by passing the bill I’ve introduced that would prohibit the U.S. government from using any of Huawei’s products,” he added Monday.