US President Joe Biden has signed the Secure Equipment Act into law, preventing Huawei and ZTE from obtaining telecom licenses.
Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese telecom companies have been deemed a security threat by the US government and intelligence agencies. The companies, especially Huawei, have been accused by governments around the world of serving as an avenue for Beijing to spy on organizations.
Despite Huawei and ZTE being banned from participating in US networks, that hasn’t completely stopped the two companies. Both have applied for, and been granted, licenses that did not involve federal funds. In fact, since 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved more than 3,000 such licenses for Huawei alone, leading to the nickname “Huawei Loophole.”
The Secure Equipment Act passed the Senate with unanimous support, and passed the House with only four votes against. With Biden’s signature, the legislation becomes law, closing the Huawei Loophole.
When the Secure Equipment Act was first introduced, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr praised the implications of the new legislation.
“I commend Republican Whip Steve Scalise and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo for their leadership in securing America’s communications infrastructure,” Carr stated. “Their bipartisan Secure Equipment Act would close a glaring loophole that Huawei and other entities are exploiting today to place their insecure gear into our networks. I applaud their work to eliminate the threats posed by this equipment.”