The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced China Mobile, the largest Telecommunications company in mainland China to discourage services in the United States States to offer. The effort is under the direction of the White House and must be approved at the FCC meeting on May 9.
"Securing our communication networks is critical to our national security," said FCC leader Ajit Pai in a statement released this afternoon. "After examining the evidence in this case, including information from other federal agencies, it is clear that China Mobile's request to provide telecommunications services in our country carries significant and serious national security and law enforcement risks."
I do not think so that a permit is in the public interest, "Pai continued. "I hope my colleagues will vote with me to reject the application from China Mobile."
China Mobile Ltd. is owned by the Chinese government and currently has over 928 million subscribers in mainland China. Despite having a large presence in its home country, the company has a relatively low foreign presence, including service in Pakistan and a limited presence in the UK. China Mobile did not immediately respond to Gizmodo's request for comment.
The Chinese telecommunications company had originally applied for a license to operate in the US in 2011, but had hurdles from the start. The China Mobile lawyer even wrote a letter to the FCC in 2013 stating that this "extreme delay" was affecting his business opportunities in the US.
The US Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration issued a statement in July 2018, advising the FCC to reject the claim from China Mobile.
The decision follows widespread bans on Tech products from the other side of the Iron Firewall for espionage issues. The US Department accused Chinese tech giant Huawei in January of fraud, obstruction of justice and theft of trade secrets, and Huawei thwarted its own lawsuit against the US government in March. The Russian security company Kaspersky has been banned from supplying telecommunications equipment to the US government.
All US-based technical bans are based on concerns that the governments of Russia and China may gain special access to US and US data by putting pressure on companies like China Mobile or Kaspersky. In recent months, Huawei executives have responded to this criticism by pointing out that US intelligence agencies regularly demand compliance, such as the CLOUD ACT. The legislation passed in 2018 allows law enforcement agencies to force US technology companies to hand over information when they receive an arrest warrant.
Huawei's rotating chairman, Guo Ping, went one step further at the Mobile World Congress in February, taunting the US government with the mention of whistleblower Edward Snowden that the NSA raised a plethora of Americans' data.
"Prism, prism on the wall, who is the most trustworthy of all? Guo said on stage when the NSA's controversial PRISM program logo appeared behind him. "It's an important question. And if you do not understand that, you can ask Edward Snowden.
Another day, another battle for technology in the New Cold War. What is certain is that these nationalist struggles over technology will become much more intense over time.