Meanwhile, FBI has finally become ‘extremely concerned’ about China’s influence through TikTok.
In the wake of reports of the extensive numbers of Chinese-made surveillance drones flying over restricted air space comes news that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to ban sales of new telecom and surveillance equipment made by several Chinese companies.
The rule change affects 10 companies already subject to other restrictions and prohibits them from marketing or importing new products. They include security-camera makers Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., 002415 -0.96%decrease; red down pointing triangle Hytera Communications Corp. and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co. and telecom equipment makers Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp.
The FCC made its order public Friday. The latest order stops short of requiring U.S. equipment buyers to remove items they have previously purchased or stripping authorizations for electronics models that already exist.
A spokesman for Hikvision said the FCC’s decision won’t protect U.S. national security, “but will do a great deal to make it more harmful and more expensive for U.S. small businesses, local authorities, school districts, and individual consumers.”
Officials from the Chinese company either had no comment or denied any security threat.
Huawei declined to comment. ZTE, Dahua, Hytera and the Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Hikvision said in a statement that its products don’t threaten U.S. security.
“This decision by the FCC will do nothing to protect U.S. national security, but will do a great deal to make it more harmful and more expensive for U.S. small businesses, local authorities, school districts, and individual consumers to protect themselves, their homes, businesses and property,” Hikvision said, adding that it will continue to serve U.S. customers “in full compliance” with U.S. regulations.
Rosenworcel circulated the proposed measure, which effectively bars the firms from selling new equipment in the United States, to the other three commissioners for final approval last month.
Meanwhile, the FBI has taken a break from surveilling Americans to pay some attention to the Chinese app, TikTok.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers Tuesday that he is “extremely concerned” about TikTok’s operations in the U.S.
“We do have national security concerns at least from the FBI’s end about TikTok,” Wray told members of the House Homeland Security Committee in a hearing about worldwide threats. “They include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users. Or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if they so chose. Or to control software on millions of devices, which gives it opportunity to potentially technically compromise personal devices.”
Wray’s remarks build on those from other government officials and members of Congress who have expressed deep skepticism about the ability of the Chinese-owned video platform to protect U.S. user information from an adversarial government. TikTok has maintained it doesn’t store U.S. user data in China, where the law allows the government to force companies to hand over internal information.
Wray said that law alone was “plenty of reason by itself to be extremely concerned.”
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