FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has applauded the introduction of the Secure Equipment Act by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). Their legislation would close a loophole that allows equipment from Huawei, ZTE and others to continue to be used in the United States despite the FCC’s determination that those entities pose an unacceptable risk to national security. Two months ago, Carr highlighted the loophole that Huawei and others have been using during an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
“I applaud Senator Rubio and Senator Markey for their leadership and bold action,” Carr said. “Their legislation would strengthen our national security by ensuring that we close the loophole that Huawei and others are using right now, despite our determination that their gear poses an unacceptable risk to our national security.”
Last year, the FCC adopted rules that require U.S. telecom carriers to remove and replace equipment produced by Huawei, ZTE and other entities due to national security concerns. Carr said that it was an important step that substantially advanced America’s national security.
“However,” Carr said, “those rules only apply to equipment purchased with federal funding. The FCC’s rules expressly allow carriers to use private funds to purchase and use that exact same equipment. And Huawei has been taking advantage of that backdoor into our networks. Indeed, a review of the FCC’s database shows that over 3,000 applications from Huawei alone have been approved since 2018, ranging from network gear to tracking devices.”
Carr said that it is time to close what he called a glaring loophole.
“Once we have determined that Huawei or other gear poses an unacceptable national security risk, it makes no sense to allow that exact same equipment to be purchased and inserted into our communications networks as long as federal dollars are not involved,” he said. “The presence of these insecure devices in our networks is the threat, not the source of funding used to purchase them. Senator Rubio and Senator Markey are taking the quick and decisive action necessary to safeguard our national security. And I am pleased that they have worked to introduce this legislation.”