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FCC expands covered list to include China Unicom and PacNet/ComNet

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau today added equipment and services from two entities – Pacific Network Corp. and its wholly-owned subsidiary ComNet (USA) LLC and China Unicom (Americas) Operations Limited – to its list of communications equipment and services that have been deemed a threat to national security.

“Today we take another critical step to protect our communications networks from foreign national security threats,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Earlier this year the FCC revoked China Unicom America’s and PacNet/ComNet’s authorities to provide service in the United States because of the national security risks they posed to communications in the United States. Now, working with our national security partners, we are taking additional action to close the door to these companies by adding them to the FCC’s Covered List. This action demonstrates our whole-of-government effort to protect network security and privacy.”

Today’s actions implement recommendations in letters filed by NTIA on behalf Executive Branch interagency bodies. These letters explain how PacNet/ComNet and China Unicom are subject to the exploitation, influence and control of the Chinese government, and the national security risks associated with such exploitation, influence, and control In recent filings, the Department of Justice, in coordination with the Department of Defense, confirms that the Executive Branch’s views these companies as posing “an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons” under section 2 of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019—thus requiring the addition of these services to the Covered List. Today’s actions are part of our ongoing effort to protect and strengthen the integrity of our nation’s critical communications network.

The Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act requires the Commission to publish and maintain a list of communications equipment and services that pose an unacceptable risk to national security or the security and safety of U.S. persons. The FCC published the initial list, commonly referred to as the covered list, in March 2021, and will continue to update the list as other communications equipment and services meet the criteria under the law.

CT Bureau

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