The US has banned the import or sale of Chinese telecoms and video surveillance products from Chinese suppliers Huawei, ZTE, Hytera Communications, Hikvision, and Dahua.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has officially implemented the provisions of the Secure Equipment Act, signed into law last year and aimed at prohibiting communications equipment deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to national security.

“While we’ve flagged equipment as posing a national security risk, prohibited companies from using federal funds to purchase them, and even stood up programs to replace them, for the last several years the FCC has continued to put its stamp of approval on this equipment through its equipment authorization process,” explains FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel.

“Specifically, under the rules we adopt today pursuant to the Secure Equipment Act, the FCC will no longer authorize equipment that is on the Covered List because it poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the safety of United States persons.”

When it comes to Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua, the ban technically only applies to equipment designed ‘for the purpose of public safety, security of government facilities, physical security surveillance of critical infrastructure, and other national security purposes’, potentially allowing a loophole for equipment supplied to small businesses or consumers.

“For these three companies, we will require them to document what safeguards they will put in place on marketing or sale for these purposes and we are putting in place a freeze on all of their telecommunications and video surveillance equipment authorization applications until that work is done,” says Rosenworcel.

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The ban also allows the five Chinese companies to continue selling equipment that has already been authorized for sale in the US. However, says the FCC, it is also seeking further comment on revisions to the rules and procedures allowing this, as well as to potential revisions to the Commission’s competitive bidding program, and on future action related to existing authorizations.

The FCC announcement comes just days after a move by the UK government to restrict the use of Chinese-made surveillance equipment. With many government departments using cameras from Hikvision and Dahua to monitor visitors, they are now banned from installing more, and have been told to consider removing any that are already in place.

The US has been gradually tightening controls on Chinese-made equipment for some time now. It has blocked the use of public funds to purchase certain equipment or services, launched the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program to remove insecure equipment that’s already been installed in US networks, and revoked permissions for Chinese state-owned carriers, based on recommendations from national security agencies.

It has also updated the process for approving submarine cable licenses, and launched inquiries on IoT security and internet routing security.

“We need to ensure the networks we know today become more secure over time and evolve to withstand cyberattack from those who wish to do us harm,” says Rosenworcel.

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