WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announces it has adopted new rules prohibiting communications equipment deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to national security from being authorized for importation or sale in the U.S. Hikvision and Dahua are among the China-based companies cited in the ban.
The FCC calls this the latest step to protect the nation’s communications networks. In recent years, the FCC, Congress, and the Executive Branch have taken multiple actions to build a more secure and resilient supply chain for communications equipment and services within the U.S., according to the FCC’s announcement.
“The FCC is committed to protecting our national security by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders, and we are continuing that work here,” says FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications.”
The ban applies to future authorizations of equipment identified on the Covered List published by the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau pursuant to the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019.
The new rules prohibit the authorization of equipment through the FCC’s Certification process, and makes clear that such equipment cannot be authorized under the Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity process or be imported or marketed under rules that allow exemption from an equipment authorization.
The Covered List (which lists both equipment and services) currently includes communications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corp., Hytera Communications, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology and Dahua Technology (and their subsidiaries and affiliates).
The new rules implement the directive in the Secure Equipment Act of 2021, signed into law by President Biden last November, that requires the FCC to adopt such rules.
The FCC also adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking further comment on additional revisions that should be made to the rules and procedures prohibiting the authorization of “covered” equipment. It also seeks further comment on potential revisions to the FCC’s competitive bidding program. The Commission is also seeking comment on future action related to existing authorizations.
The new rules follow a series of other FCC initiatives to keep U.S. networks secure. In addition to these latest actions and maintaining the Covered List, the FCC has prohibited the use of public funds to purchase covered equipment or services, launched the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program to remove insecure equipment that has already been installed in U.S. networks, revoked operating authorities for Chinese state-owned carriers based on recommendations from national security agencies, updated the process for approving submarine cable licenses to better address national security concerns, and launched inquiries on IoT security and internet outing security, among other actions.
In response to the ban, a Hikvision spokesperson told SSI, “As stated previously, Hikvision video security products present no security threat to the United States and there is no technical or legal justification for the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to remove Hikvision’s future products from the equipment authorization process. 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 US small businesses, local authorities, school districts, and individual consumers to protect themselves, their homes, businesses and property. Hikvision USA will continue to serve its distributor partners and customers in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”
Hikvision and Dahua also appear on a blacklist created by the U.S. Defense Department of organizations it says are backed by the Chinese military.
You can view the official order here.