© Reuters. Signage is seen at Federal Communications Commission headquarters in Washington, DC, U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly
By David Shepardson and Raphael Satter
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Friday added Russia’s AO Kaspersky Lab, China Telecom (NYSE:) (Americas) Corp and China Mobile (NYSE: International USA) to its list of providers. provide communications equipment and services that are considered a threat to the national security of the United States.
The regulator last year designated five Chinese companies including Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp (HK:) as the first companies on the list, which is required by 2019 law. Kaspersky is the first Russian company listed first.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said the new designations “will help protect our network from threats posed by Chinese and Russian state-backed entities seeking to engage in espionage and influence.” harm US interests.”
US officials have long said that running Kaspersky software could open up US networks to attack malicious activity from Moscow, and banned Kaspersky’s flagship antivirus product from federal networks in 2017 Moscow-based Kaspersky has always denied being a tool of the Russian government,
In naming Kaspersky, the FCC’s announcement did not cite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or President Joe Biden’s recent warnings about potential Russian cyberattacks in response to US sanctions and its support of the Russian Federation. Ukraine’s household.
Kaspersky said in a statement that it was disappointed by the FCC’s decision, saying it was “made on political grounds.” The move is “without any substantiation and is a response to the geopolitical environment rather than a comprehensive assessment of the integrity of Kaspersky products and services,” the company said.
The Chinese embassy in Washington on Friday said the FCC “has abused state power and maliciously attacked Chinese telecommunications operators once again without any factual basis. The US should immediately stop its work. unreasonable suppression of Chinese companies.
“China will take necessary measures to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies,” it added.
The Chinese companies were not immediately available for comment.
In October, the FCC revoked the US license for China Telecom (the Americas), saying it was “subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government.” [nL1N2RM1QE]
The FCC cited its previous decisions to deny or revoke the ability of Chinese telecommunications companies to operate in the United States in its decision to add them to the threat list.
The FCC also revoked the US licenses of China Unicom (NYSE:) and Pacific Networks and its wholly owned subsidiary ComNet.
In 2019, the FCC rejected China Mobile’s bid to provide US telecommunications services, citing national security risks.
Being placed on the “covered list” means that money from the FCC’s $8 billion annual General Service Fund is not used to buy or maintain products from the companies. The fund supports telecommunications for rural areas, low-income consumers and facilities such as schools, libraries and hospitals.
The FCC last year also named Hytera Communications, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology and Dahua Technology as security threats.
FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel said the agency has been working closely with US national security agencies to update the list and will add more companies if warranted.
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