Last Tuesday, commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to nullify China Telecom Americas’ authorizations to operate in the US. The FCC is the government agency responsible for regulating international and interstate communications, which gives it the power not only to suppress the Chinese-owned communications agency’s operations, but also to kick the company out of the US.
The FCC’s regulatory oversight includes the wires, satellites, radios, cables, and television operating in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia and the country’s territories.
Actually, the recent decision is just a continuation of the investigations that started under Trump’s administration, specifically focused on Chinese-owned telecommunications service providers.
China Telecom Americas is regarded as a threat to the country’s national security since the company is vulnerable to misuse by the Chinese government. That being the case, it is likely that it will be inclined to carry out orders from Beijing; including that of relinquishing customer data. The subsidiary has been providing phone and IT services in Herndon, Virginia for several years.
What the FCC Commissioners are Saying
The FCC’s acting chair Jessica Rosenworcel said they are strongly exerting federal efforts in dealing with the potential threats to U.S. telecom networks, since companies like China Telecom Americas could disrupt the country’s communication services and at the same time conduct surveillances.
Moreover, the soon-to-be chief of FCC, accused China Telecom Americas of misrepresentations based on the evidences presented by branch agencies during the voting.
GOP Commissioner Brendan Carr is quite satisfied with decision although he convoked for more actions in restraining other foreign threats. This includes broadening the list of companies that pose as national security threats as well as limiting access to FCC’s equipment and authorizations. Carr also mentioned the inclusion of drone manufacturer DJI, to FCC’s list of national security threats.