The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will categorically ban devices over national security concerns for the first time in history. Per a new order, the FCC will prohibit the import and sale of devices produced by Huawei and ZTE, and restrict the use of several other Chinese-produced devices for government and critical infrastructure purposes. Huawei and ZTE are electronic device manufacturers based in China with reportedly strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party, leading to high-profile data privacy and security concerns. In an official statement, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr stated that these devices may allow hackers to “exploit backdoors in our electronics systems to obtain sensitive information and exploit that access to endanger America’s interests.” Commissioner Carr has publicly stated that TikTok should also be banned in the U.S. due to similar national security concerns.

Under the Secure Equipment Act of 2021, the FCC can grant and deny equipment authorizations for electronic communication equipment to be used on federally-regulated frequency bands. This order, passed unanimously by the Commissioners, will also empower the FCC to revoke previously-granted authorizations. Additionally, the order may not be the last federal action against a Chinese-based company. Carr ended his statement by calling on the FCC to address “insecure applications” (including TikTok) that send sensitive data “back to Beijing.”

Photo of Linn Foster Freedman Linn Foster Freedman

Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She is a member of the Business Litigation Group and the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team, and chairs the firm’s Data Privacy and Security and Artificial Intelligence Teams. Linn focuses her…

Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She is a member of the Business Litigation Group and the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team, and chairs the firm’s Data Privacy and Security and Artificial Intelligence Teams. Linn focuses her practice on compliance with all state and federal privacy and security laws and regulations. She counsels a range of public and private clients from industries such as construction, education, health care, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, utilities and critical infrastructure, marine and charitable organizations, on state and federal data privacy and security investigations, as well as emergency data breach response and mitigation. Linn is an Adjunct Professor of the Practice of Cybersecurity at Brown University and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Roger Williams University School of Law.  Prior to joining the firm, Linn served as assistant attorney general and deputy chief of the Civil Division of the Attorney General’s Office for the State of Rhode Island. She earned her J.D. from Loyola University School of Law and her B.A., with honors, in American Studies from Newcomb College of Tulane University. She is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Read her full rc.com bio here.

Photo of Blair Robinson Blair Robinson

Blair Robinson has experience in data privacy and security, cybersecurity, information security governance, information technology (IT), and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  Read her full rc.com bio here.