This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., brought out the “Secure Equipment Act.”
The bill would have the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) “clarify that it will no longer review, or approve, applications from companies on the Commission’s ‘Covered List’” and “prevent further integration and sales of Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua – all Chinese state-backed or directed firms – in the U.S. regardless of whether federal funds are involved.”
U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., is co-sponsoring the proposal.
“In 2020, the FCC adopted new rules to require U.S. telecommunications carriers to rip and replace equipment provided by Huawei, ZTE, and other covered companies that pose a risk to U.S. national security. While that was an important step, those rules only apply to equipment purchased with federal funding. The very same equipment can still be used if purchased with private or non-federal government dollars. The Secure Equipment Act closes this national security loophole,” Rubio’s office noted.
“Chinese state-directed companies like Huawei and ZTE pose a serious risk to our national security,” Rubio said. “The Chinese Communist Party subsidizes these companies and exploits loopholes in our laws to allow malicious actors to sell compromised equipment and services in the U.S. The status quo is dangerous, and we need to act now to strengthen our national security and protect our critical infrastructure.”
“In today’s increasingly connected world, we must animate our technology with our values, especially in the 5G networks that are critical to our future economic prosperity,” Markey said. “That’s why our bipartisan legislation will make sure all of our devices and equipment are safe for consumers and secure for the United States. I’m proud to partner with Senator Rubio on this commonsense proposal and I look forward to fighting together for its swift passage.”
“I applaud Senator Rubio and Senator Markey for their leadership and bold action,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, the senior Republican on the FCC, said. “Their legislation would strengthen our national security by ensuring that we close the loophole that Huawei and others are using right now despite our determination that their gear poses an unacceptable risk to our national security.”
Rubio’s bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. House.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.