13:47 GMT28 February 2021
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    Ajit Pai's tenure saw the US Federal Communications Commission clamping down on a spate of Chinese network manufacturers, including Huawei and ZTE. Washington claims the companies pose a national security threat to the US, which is vehemently denied by Beijing.

    Outgoing US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai has argued that over the next four years, regulators will face a major national security challenge due to possible Chinese espionage and threats to US telecommunications networks and internet freedom.

    In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, the FCC chief referred to a "wide array" of activity from China which he claimed pertains to surveillance, economic espionage, and potential "injection of malware into networks here in the United States or around the world".

    "There are a number of bad things that can happen when insecure equipment is used to handle sensitive information", Pai asserted.

    He then went further by describing the Chinese Communist Party as an organisation that "has a very determined worldview" and wants "to dominate this space and exert their will - even beyond their own borders".

    "That is a serious threat not just to internet freedom but to national security for us and for many of our allies", Pai claimed.

    The interview followed the FCC in November launching the process of revoking the authorisation of China Telecom, the largest Chinese telecommunications company in the US.

    In April, the US Department of Justice said the country's relevant agencies had unanimously recommended that the FCC revoke China Telecom's permits to provide international telecommunications services, citing national security risks.

    The company called the claims "unfounded", adding the US move is "based solely on foreign policy concerns in the absence of any evidence whatsoever of specific misconduct".

    The developments came amid then-US President Donald Trump's trade war against Beijing. The latter targeted numerous Chinese firms such as Huawei Technologies, ZTE, mainland chipmaker SMIC, as well as TikTok owner ByteDance and WeChat owner Tencent, in an attempt to limit China's rise as the global leader in emerging technologies.

     

     

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    Tags:
    threats, national security, Huawei, espionage, malware, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), China, US
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