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FCC Cites 'National Security' Concerns to Withhold Federal Contracts

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is proposing new rules that will allow the commission to withhold federal contracts and other funds based on national security concerns. This is likely to involve several companies based in Russia and China.

Scott Ferguson

March 27, 2018

2 Min Read

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is proposing new rules that will allow the commission to block certain tech companies from receiving federal contracts and other funds if these suppliers are deemed a threat to national security.

The proposal, announced March 26, would apply to the FCC's $8.5 billion Universal Service Fund (USF), which helps provide telecommunications and other services to rural and low-income areas.

"Hidden 'back doors' to our networks in routers, switches -- and virtually any other type of telecommunications equipment -- can provide an avenue for hostile governments to inject viruses, launch denial-of-service attacks, steal data, and more," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wrote in a statement released Monday.

(Source: Flickr)

(Source: Flickr)

Although the proposal did not specify which companies the proposed rule changes are targeting, Light Reading Mobile Editor Dan Jones reports that China's Huawei Technologies and ZTE, along with Russia's Kasperksy Labs, are likely to come under additional scrutiny.

The FBI and CIA have previously sent warnings about Huawei and ZTE. (See Unknown Document 741756.)

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Kasperksy has also come under scrutiny for its ties to the Russian government, but company spokespeople have denied any connection.

The FCC will hold a vote on new rules on April 17.

For more details, read the full story on Security Now's parent site, Light Reading .

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— Scott Ferguson, is the managing editor of Light Reading and the editor of Security Now. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

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About the Author(s)

Scott Ferguson

Managing Editor, Light Reading

Prior to joining Enterprise Cloud News, he was director of audience development for InformationWeek, where he oversaw the publications' newsletters, editorial content, email and content marketing initiatives. Before that, he served as editor-in-chief of eWEEK, overseeing both the website and the print edition of the magazine. For more than a decade, Scott has covered the IT enterprise industry with a focus on cloud computing, datacenter technologies, virtualization, IoT and microprocessors, as well as PCs and mobile. Before covering tech, he was a staff writer at the Asbury Park Press and the Herald News, both located in New Jersey. Scott has degrees in journalism and history from William Paterson University, and is based in Greater New York.

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