Blacklisted: The U.S. Government Clamps Down on Telecommunications EquipmentYi Jin, Ph.D.
The FCC voted unanimously on June 17, 2021, to prohibit new authorizations of NDAA-banned telecommunications products including mega manufacturers. The vote marks the United States’ most aggressive step to date in banning telecommunications equipment made in China.
In the eyes of many intelligence experts, this move is more than warranted — and a long time coming.
Imagine a video surveillance system, for example, being used in a lab where important research is done. It’s easy (and scary) to think how easily intelligence could slip into the wrong hands.
Indeed, a Senate report found that the federal decade failed for nearly two decades to guard against the cybersecurity threats posed by Chinese government-owned telecoms operating in the United States.
Now, that’s all changing.
Before we get into what just happened, let’s talk about what’s already happened.
In 2018, the United States Congress determined that there are increased risks to our country’s privacy and security that come with using telecommunications equipment and services provided by companies owned, controlled or connected with the Chinese government.
Congress began to take action in August 2018, passing the John McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contained a section called Section 889: Prohibition on Certain Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Services or Equipment.
The NDAA prohibitions went into effect in two phases: Section 889(a) prohibits federal agencies from purchasing covered telecommunications systems. Section 889(b) prohibits federal agencies from doing business with a company that uses covered telecommunications equipment.
But the prohibitions didn’t have any real teeth until March of 2021 when the FCC designated five Chinese companies as posing a threat to our national security under the 2019 law. This so-called “covered” list — essentially a blacklist. It’s worth noting here, the list included two of the world’s largest video surveillance equipment manufacturers. What’s more, currently upwards of 40 percent of the surveillance equipment used in the United States is made in China.
This means that the blacklist was a very big step.
As acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement: “This list provides meaningful guidance that will ensure that as next-generation networks are built across the country, they do not repeat the mistakes of the past or use equipment or services that will pose a threat to U.S. national security or the security and safety of Americans.”
Then, on June 3, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that bars U.S. investors from any financial interest in 59 Chinese companies that have been identified as threats to our security or democratic values.
Together, all of the above measures constituted a meaningful defense. But the biggest strike by far occurred with today’s FCC vote.
“US Takes Action to Eliminate the Security Threat”
The FCC Takes Action
The FCC’s unanimous vote prohibits all future authorizations of equipment provided by entities on the blacklist. What’s more, the FCC is also considering revoking authorizations already granted to these entities — a possible development we’ll follow closely in the coming days and weeks.
It’s hard to understate the impact the vote will have on the video surveillance industry.
Here’s how SecurityInfoWatch.com explained the repercussions of the FCC vote.
“These rule changes would not only have major ramifications for the U.S. operations, but it could also significantly impact other manufacturers who use OEM products from the firms.”
In other words, it’s a total disruption of the current video surveillance market.
U.S. companies will not be able to obtain authorization for any telecommunications products made by a blacklisted company and — even more critically — might have to get rid of any existing equipment made by a blacklisted company.
A Safer — and Better — Alternative
The number one thing any company should be seeking in a video surveillance system is the assurance that it is NDAA compliant and not blacklisted — and that it will not be blacklisted in the future.
Turing Vision is an AI-powered video surveillance system designed and manufactured by Turing Video, which is based in the heart of Silicon Valley in California.
But, in addition to being a safe and secure choice, Turing Vision is a superior choice.
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Turing Vision is an innovative solution that will keep your business compliant with all current and future government mandates.
But, even more importantly, Turing Vision is an affordable way to protect your business — and your future — in a world that is not always as predictable as we’d like it to be.
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