Last month, the FCC again rejected the Chinese device manufacturer ZTE’s request for its removal off of the US national security threat designation. Both ZTE and Huawei fall under this category as a possible risk of espionage. While both manufacturers deny the threat, Chinese law does allow their government to spy on users with few safeguards. “Notably, ZTE didn’t dispute that ‘Chinese law imposes both legal and extralegal controls on Chinese citizens and foreign citizens, companies, and organizations operating in China to provide access, cooperation, and support for the government’s intelligence gathering activities.'”, Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, said on Twitter. Huawei, also in the same predicament as ZTE, will have their standing reviewed next month.
Beyond a label for ZTE, the decision provides financial assistance for smaller rural telecoms to “rip and replace” equipment. It also provides $1 billion in financial help. Additionally, carriers aren’t allowed financial assistance to buy or upgrade ZTE equipment from the FCC Universal Service Fund.
You can still purchase products from ZTE and Huawei, but we had to look a little harder to find Huawei devices. Huawei and ZTE have committed a long list of crimes including corporate espionage and sanction violations as well as alleged human rights violations. Additionally, both companies have come under scrutiny for their lack of security on equipment and devices. These issues still caused concern for the FCC. I recommend avoiding their devices for now.