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FCC Bans Import of Chinese Technology

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will categorically ban devices over national security concerns for the first time in history. Per a new order, the FCC will prohibit the import and sale of devices produced by Huawei and ZTE, and restrict the use of several other Chinese-produced devices for government and critical infrastructure purposes. Huawei and ZTE are electronic device manufacturers based in China with reportedly strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party, leading to high-profile data privacy and security concerns. In an official statement, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr stated that these devices may allow hackers to “exploit backdoors in our electronics systems to obtain sensitive information and exploit that access to endanger America’s interests.” Commissioner Carr has publicly stated that TikTok should also be banned in the U.S. due to similar national security concerns.

Under the Secure Equipment Act of 2021, the FCC can grant and deny equipment authorizations for electronic communication equipment to be used on federally-regulated frequency bands. This order, passed unanimously by the Commissioners, will also empower the FCC to revoke previously-granted authorizations. Additionally, the order may not be the last federal action against a Chinese-based company. Carr ended his statement by calling on the FCC to address “insecure applications” (including TikTok) that send sensitive data “back to Beijing.”

Blair Robinson also contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2023 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 343
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About this Author

Linn F. Freedman, Robinson Cole Law Firm, Cybersecurity and Litigation Law Attorney, Providence
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Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She provides guidance on data privacy and cybersecurity compliance to a full range of public and private clients across all industries, such as construction, education, health care, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, utilities and critical infrastructure, marine, and charitable organizations. Linn is a member of the firm's Business Litigation Group and chairs its Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team. She is also a member of the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team (CyFi ...

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