The Trump Administration has recommended to the FCC that it revoke China Telecom's authorizations to provide telecom service in the U.S.
That was another of the legacy Team Telecom national security reviews of foreign involvement in U.S. telecom networks, a review that has been replaced by a committee approach mandated by President Donald Trump.
The Department of Justice, which led the review, said that advice was based on developments since the authorizations were transferred in 2007, including its failure to comply with the terms of an agreement with Justice that was the basis of those existing FCC authorizations.
“Today, more than ever, the life of the nation and its people runs on our telecommunications networks,” said John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security, in a statement. “The security of our government and professional communications, as well as of our most private data, depends on our use of trusted partners from nations that share our values and our aspirations for humanity. Today’s action is but our next step in ensuring the integrity of America’s telecommunications systems.”
The recommendation was based on increased knowledge of China's malicious cybersecurity activities since 2007 combined with concerns China Telecom could be influenced/controlled by the Chinese government. It was also based on:
- "Inaccurate statements by China Telecom to U.S. government authorities about where China Telecom stored its U.S. records, raising questions about who has access to those records;
- "Inaccurate public representations by China Telecom concerning its cybersecurity practices, which raise questions about China Telecom’s compliance with federal and state cybersecurity and privacy laws; and
- "The nature of China Telecom’s U.S. operations, which provide opportunities for PRC state-actors to engage in malicious cyber activity enabling economic espionage and disruption and misrouting of U.S. communications."
Scrubbing U.S. nets of suspect Chinese telecoms and equipment suppliers has been a priority for the FCC, Congress and the Trump Administration, particularly the presence of Huawei and ZTE.
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