The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has added three telecom companies to its list of communications equipment and services that have been deemed a threat to U.S. national security.
The companies are Russia-based AO Kaspersky Lab, and two companies based in China, China Telecom (Americas) Corp and China Mobile International USA Inc. The FCC said adding the companies to its list, commonly known as the “covered list,” is consistent with requirements laid out in the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019.
“Last year, for the first time, the FCC published a list of communications equipment and services that pose an unacceptable risk to national security, and we have been working closely with our national security partners to review and update this list,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.
She said the new adds to the list are “the latest in the FCC’s ongoing efforts, as part of the greater whole-of-government approach, to strengthen America’s communications networks against national security threats, including examining the foreign ownership of telecommunications companies providing service in the United States and revoking the authorization to operate where necessary. Our work in this area continues.”
The Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act requires the FCC to publish and maintain a list of communications equipment and services that pose an unacceptable risk to national security or the security and safety of U.S. citizens. The FCC published the initial list in March 2021, and said it will continue to update the list as other communications equipment and services meet the criteria under the law.
“The FCC’s decision to add these three entities to our covered list is welcome news. The FCC plays a critical role in securing our nation’s communications networks, and keeping our covered list up to date is an important tool we have at our disposal to do just that,” said Commissioner Brendan Carr. “In particular, I am pleased that our national security agencies agreed with my assessment that China Mobile and China Telecom appeared to meet the threshold necessary to add these entities to our list. Their addition, as well as Kaspersky Labs, will help secure our networks from threats posed by Chinese and Russian state backed entities seeking to engage in espionage and otherwise harm America’s interests.”