The FCC has added Kaspersky, China Mobile, and China Telecom to the list of companies affected by the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019.
The so-called Covered List includes companies “that are deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons,” the commission explains, typically because of their connections to foreign governments.
The addition of Kaspersky, China Mobile, and China Telecom nearly doubles the number of companies on the Covered List. The FCC’s initial list included five companies—Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua—when it was formally announced in March 2021.
The FCC says that its decision to add Kaspersky to the Covered List was motivated by the Department of Homeland Security banning the company’s security products from all federal systems in September 2017. (A move that Kaspersky has protested.)
The commission explains:
“Based on the required actions by federal agencies in response to the threats identified in the [Binding Operational Directive], we interpret the BOD to be a finding from the Department of Homeland Security that Kaspersky-branded products pose an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States. Further, by requiring federal agencies to remove Kaspersky-branded products we find that the Department of Homeland Security has determined that its products are capable of posing an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States and its people.”
Kaspersky didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
So far as China Mobile and China Telecom are concerned, the FCC says that both carriers “pose substantial and unacceptable risks to US national security and law enforcement concerns,” according to findings from the committee formerly known as Team Telecom.
Reuters reports that the Chinese Embassy said the FCC “abused state power and maliciously attacked Chinese telecom operators again without factual basis” and that “China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies” in response to China Mobile and China Telecom’s addition to the Covered List.