New White House, same beef with China telecom and biometrics powerhouses
The Biden administration has reinforced a position held by its predecessor that products made by five Chinese telecom, surveillance and biometrics companies pose unacceptable risks to U.S. national security.
The FCC’s acting chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, identified the companies as Zhejiang Dahua Technology, ZTE Corp., Hytera Communications, Huawei Technologies and Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology.
All are seen as being under the direct influence of China’s authoritarian ruling Communist Party. Among concerns that some in foreign relations and commerce circles have is that finished products and components made by the companies could be used as weapons of espionage or actual warfare. Dahua and Hikvision have each been found to have developed biometric detection algorithms based on ethnicity.
Wariness of Huawei and ZTE for just these reasons became more visible in 2012, after the publication of a House of Representatives intelligence committee report.
That report recommended that the U.S. government and businesses should stop doing business with them because of the threat they posed as proxies for Beijing.
Lower prices made possible by a lower standard of living in China make the five companies’ products attractive globally, and threaten to usurp U.S. technology prominence. Even European Union nations have embedded telecom and other facets of the Chinese product lines deeply into their data networks.
Rosenworcel’s statement on foreign firms selling relevant hardware and services in the United States reiterates restrictions required by law since 2019, when companies including Huawei and Hikvision were placed on an economic blacklist.
Last summer, the Trump White House imposed new regulations that prevent its agencies from dealing with the five companies.
It also forbid companies from getting federal subsidies to buy telecom equipment and services. Reuters has reported that that fund tops $8.3 billion.