FCC asked to revoke China Telecom’s authorization to operate in U.S.

By WND Staff

(Image courtesy Pixabay)

The Federal Communications Commission has been asked by a coalition of executive branch agencies to “revoke and terminate” China Telecom Corp.’s permissions to provide international telecommunications services to and from the United States.

The company, a U.S. subsidiary of a state-owned company in the People’s Republic of China, has been under review of the Department of Justice.

It based the recommendation on changes that have developed since the permission previously was granted in 2007, including the company’s failure to follow a previous agreement with the federal department, according to officials with the Department of Justice.

“Today, more than ever, the life of the nation and its people runs on our telecommunications networks,” said John C. Demers, assistant attorney general for National Security. “The security of our government and professional communications, as well as of our most private data, depends on our use of trusted partners from nations that share our values and our aspirations for humanity. Today’s action is but our next step in ensuring the integrity of America’s telecommunications systems.”

The executive branch agencies cited “substantial and unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks associated with China Telecom’s operations.”

The DOJ reported the agencies that participated in the recommendation were concerned about “the evolving national security environment since 2007 and increased knowledge of the PRC’s role in malicious cyber activity targeting the United States.”

Also, “that China Telecom is vulnerable to exploitation, influence, and control by the PRC government,” and “inaccurate statements by China Telecom to U.S. government authorities about where China Telecom stored its U.S. records raised questions about who has access to those records.”

Additionally, there were concerns about “inaccurate public representations by China Telecom concerning its cybersecurity practices,” and there were questions about “the nature of China Telecom’s U.S. operations, which provide opportunities for PRC state-actors to engage in malicious cyber activity enabling economic espionage and disruption and misrouting of U.S. communications.”

Some of the issues relate to the company’s failure to comply with a 2007 Letter of Assurance on which the current permissions were based, the DOJ said.

“As a result, the executive branch agencies concluded that the national security and law enforcement risks associated with China Telecom’s international Section 214 authorizations could not be mitigated by additional mitigation terms,” the DOJ said.

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