On Friday, the United States prohibited the shipment and import of new telecommunications equipment from Huawei, ZTE, and three other Chinese companies, expressing national security concerns.

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) adopted new final rules, stating the United States government will no longer provide import and sale authorizations for telecom and video-surveillance equipment manufactured by ZTE, Huawei, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, Hytera Communications, and Dahua Technology.

The U.S. is concerned about the national security.

What the FCC says it is worried about

Jessica Rosenworcel, head of the FCC, said that the agency’s action focuses on network base station equipment. It includes phones, cameras, and Wi-Fi routers used in houses. It also includes rebranded or “white label” equipment designed for the market.

Huawei has refused to comment. ZTE, Dahua, Hytera, or the Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Hikvision stated that its products do not pose a security risk to the United States.

This FCC decision does nothing to protect U.S. national security. Still, it will make it much more complex and expensive for U.S. small businesses, local governments, school districts, and private individuals to protect themselves, their residences, businesses, and property, according to a statement by Hikvision.

How we got here

Last month, Rosenworcel sent the proposed legislation, which effectively prohibits the companies from selling new gear in the United States to the remaining three commissioners for final confirmation. In June 2021, the FCC stated that it was contemplating prohibiting all equipment approvals for all firms on the restricted list.

This followed the March 2021 designation of five Chinese businesses as a danger to national security under a 2019 statute designed to defend U.S. communications networks. The restrictions were aimed at Huawei, ZTE, Hytera Communications Corp., Hikvision, and Dahua.

The action was approved by all four commissioners at the agency, comprising two Republicans and two Democrats. The agency stated that it has the right to cancel past authorizations but chose not to do so.

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