On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated five Chinese companies that produce telecommunication equipment and services as a “threat to national security” under a law that was passed in 2019.
The five companies designated are Huawei Technologies Co, ZTE Corp, Hytera Communications Corp, Dahua Technology Co, and Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co.
The 2019 law titled, known as the Trusted Communications Networks Act, required the FCC to identify companies making telecommunications goods as “that have been found to pose an unacceptable risk to US national security.”
The US has targeted the firms with trade blacklists. Most notable in the group is Huawei, a firm that specializes in 5G technologies that the US pressures its allies not to do business with.
The US claims that if Chinese firms build telecommunications infrastructure in the US or other countries, they can put in back doors that Beijing can access for surveillance, something the US government does across the world through the NSA.
The lack of control and access the US has over Huawei and its networks could be the real reason Washington is so against it.
Leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the NSA hacked Huawei in the past. According to a Snowden document obtained by The New York Times and Der Spiegel, the NSA hacked Huawei’s main servers in 2007.
The NSA viewed the increasing amount of internet communications going through Huawei as a “unique” threat to the agency’s ability to conduct surveillance. “Many of our targets communicate over Huawei produced products, we want to make sure that we know how to exploit these products,” the NSA document said.