Lawmakers Ask FCC to Act on National Security Risks from Foreign Telecom Companies

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Sens Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Edward J Markey (D-MA) wrote a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission to take action in response to national security risks posed by foreign companies that manage and service US wireless phone networks. Although the US government has responded forcefully to risks from Chinese hardware manufacturers, including Huawei and ZTE, it has not yet accounted for risks from foreign companies that operate or maintain US networks. Indeed, there is not even a comprehensive accounting of how many foreign companies provide such services to US networks. Many foreign service providers are subject to foreign surveillance laws, and as such, could be forced to abuse their access to US networks to help foreign intelligence services spy on American subscribers. In addition to the threat of compelled surveillance assistance, the senators are also concerned by media reports suggesting that managed service providers may be partnering with for-profit surveillance companies, creating the possibility that these companies could provide their authoritarian clients with trusted access to US telecommunications networks. The senators asked the FCC to identify foreign managed service providers and work with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and other agencies to identify high-risk firms that could threaten US national security.

Lawmakers Ask FCC to Act on National Security Risks from Foreign Telecommunications Services Companies