Trump declares emergency over IT threats

Trump declares emergency over IT threats

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order declaring a national emergency and barring US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms posing a national security risk, paving the way for a ban on doing business with China's Huawei Technologies Co.

The president signed an executive order which effectively bars U.S. companies from using foreign telecoms believed to pose a security risk to the country.

In August, Trump signed a bill that barred the USA government itself from using equipment from Huawei and another Chinese provider, ZTE Corp. The order might eventually name specific companies or countries as Commerce carries out the process.

The emergency order gives the Secretary of Commerce the authority to block any transactions that would pose "undue risk of sabotage to or subversion" of IT or communications technologies and services, or "undue risk of catastrophic effects on the security or resiliency of. critical infrastructure or the digital economy".

Canadian authorities last December arrested Huawei's Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of the USA, which seeks her extradition over allegations of violating Iran sanctions. But it will affect small, rural carriers, some 25 percent of which use either Huawei or ZTE equipment in their networks.

The U.S. started a soft ban on Huawei equipment around December 2017, when a group of U.S. lawmakers sent a letter warning about Huawei's role in Chinese "espionage".

He said Huawei had long cooperated with Britain's National Cyber Security Centre's oversight of its technology, and it had improved its software engineering capabilities to make them the equal of competitors.

The Huawei debate has pushed Britain into the heart of China's heated battle for global dominance with the United States.

The action will direct the Commerce Department, in consultation with other federal agencies, to craft an enforcement strategy.

The Secretary of Homeland Security is also required to prepare a written evaluation of hardware, software, and services vulnerabilities that could threaten U.S. national security within 80 days.

Washington has told allies not to use Huawei's technology to build new 5G networks because of worries it could be a vehicle for Chinese spying, an accusation the company has denied.

The FCC voted unanimously to deny China Mobile Ltd's bid to provide US telecommunications services last week and said it was reviewing similar prior approvals held by China Unicom and China Telecom Corp.

The EO is the latest development in an ongoing global PR battle between Huawei and the USA, and follows a federal ban on Huawei equipment established in 2018.

The Rural Wireless Association, which represents carriers with fewer than 100,000 subscribers, estimated that one-quarter of its members had Huawei or ZTE equipment in their networks, it said in an FCC filing in December past year.

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