The United States on Tuesday (26 October) revoked the license of China Telecom, one of the biggest telecom service providers in China, over national security concerns.
The US officials said that Chinese government's ownership of the company gave it the opportunity "to access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute US communications".
The order issued by US telecom regulator Federal Communications Commission (FCC) directs China Telecom's American subsidiary to "discontinue any domestic or international services that it provides" in US within "sixty days following the release of the order".
The FCC said that "China Telecom Americas, a U.S. subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned enterprise, is subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government and is highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese government requests without sufficient legal procedures subject to independent judicial oversight".
It further added, "China Telecom Americas’ ownership and control by the Chinese government raise significant national security and law enforcement risks by providing opportunities for China Telecom Americas, its parent entities, and the Chinese government to access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute U.S. communications, which in turn allow them to engage in espionage and other harmful activities against the United States".
"Promoting national security is an integral part of the Commission’s responsibility to advance the public interest, and today’s action carries out that mission to safeguard the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure from potential security threats," the FCC said.
The Commission added that that the "classified evidence" submitted by the US agencies further "supports the decisions to revoke the domestic authority and revoke and terminate the international authorisations issued to China Telecom Americas, and the determination that further mitigation will not address the substantial national security and law enforcement risks".
Earlier in 2019, the FCC revoked China Mobile's US licence, and now is in process of doing so for two other state-backed firms - China Unicom Americas and Pacific Networks, reports BBC.
In all cases, US officials cited risks that the Chinese government could use the companies to spy on America or harm national interests.
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