The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously Thursday to explore a proposal to ban U.S. companies from buying telecommunications equipment that poses national security risks.
The move strengthened the opposition to Chinese providers of 5G wireless and other technologies, The New York Times reported, and could revoke prior authorizations to Huawei and ZTE, noted The Hill.
According to The Hill, a bipartisan group of legislators previously introduced legislation that mirrors the FCC’s action.
Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Steve Scalise, R-La., introduced their bill earlier this week; Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., put forward similar legislation last month, The Hill noted.
''We applaud the FCC’s vote to put national security first by keeping compromised Chinese equipment out of U.S. telecommunications networks,'' the lawmakers said in a joint statement, The Hill reported.
Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr also hailed the legislation at the time.
"I commend Republican Whip Steve Scalise and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo for their leadership in securing America's communications infrastructure," Carr said, Nextgov reported Wednesday.
"Their bipartisan Secure Equipment Act would close a glaring loophole that Huawei and other entities are exploiting today to place their insecure gear into our networks.''
Their proposed legislation would direct the FCC to clarify that it will no longer review, or approve, applications from companies deemed a threat. The bills would also prevent further integration and sales of companies on the FCC’s ''covered list'' in the U.S. regardless of whether federal funds are involved.
In addition to Huawei and ZTE, the Chinese companies Hytera Communications Corp., Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. and Dahua Technology Co. are on the FCC’s list.
Congressional and administrative action against Chinese telecommunications equipment has broad political support in connection with fears — going back to a 2012 House Intelligence Committee report — China could be using its access to U.S. networks to eavesdrop on Americans.
Huwaei criticized the proposal advanced by the FCC.
''Blocking the purchase of equipment, based on a ‘predictive judgment,’ related to country of origin or brand is without merit, discriminatory and will do nothing to protect the integrity of U.S. communications networks or supply chains,'' a Huawei representative told The New York Times.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.