Departing FCC chair warns of threats to telecoms from China

FCC - Federal Communications Commission

The outgoing US Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai said possible Chinese espionage and dangers to US telecom networks and internet freedom are the biggest national security issue that regulators will face in the next four years.

Ajit Pai told journalists at our partner news agency Reuters in an interview that their is a “wide array” of action from China which has been of concern, such as of surveillance, economic espionage and potential “injection of malware into networks here in the United States or around the world. There are a number of bad things that can happen when insecure equipment is used to handle sensitive information.”

Mr Pai was named chairman in January 2017 by former President Trump and stepped down on Wednesday. During his tenure, the FCC cracked down Chinese community manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE.

Last month, the FCC started the process of revoking China Telecom’s authorization to operate from the United States. China Telecom is the biggest Chinese telecommunications company.

“The Chinese Communist Party has a very determined world view. “That is a serious threat not just to internet freedom but to national security for us and for many of our allies.”

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The Chinese foreign ministry said in December US claims about risks to national security were false.

The FCC first cautioned in April might terminate US operations of three state-controlled Chinese telecommunications firms including China Telecom.

In 2019, the FCC voted to deny state-owned China Mobile the best to supply US telecommunications solutions, citing risks the Chinese government could utilize the approval to conduct espionage.

Beneath Pai, the FCC officially designated China’s Huawei and ZTE Corp as domestic security threats, barring US companies from tapping an $8.3 billion government finance to purchase equipment from the companies. Congress approved $1.9 billion in December to cover for replacement of Chinese-made gear in US networks.

In April, the FCC approved Alphabet unit Google’s petition to utilize a portion of an US-Asia undersea telecommunications cable, but not to Hong Kong, after US agencies increased national security issues.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘Departing FCC chair warns of threats to telecoms from China‘ article. Translation from English to other languages via Google Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Jonathan Landay. Editing by Steve Orlofsky.

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