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Citing National Security, US Blocks Chinese Tech

The new rule will block the import of communications hardware and software including drones and network surveillance cameras.

The US government is moving to block the import of technology from China and other countries that may threaten the country’s national security. 

The US Department of Commerce has identified five governments as “foreign adversaries”: China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Cuba. The block also applies to Venezuelan politician Nicolás Maduro

“Aggressively securing the ICTS [Information and Communications Technology and Services] supply chain will protect American citizens and businesses from vulnerabilities that could undermine the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their personal information or sensitive data by malicious foreign adversaries and those who wish harm on the United States,” US Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.

The rule, which will be effective 60 days from January 14, its day of publication, will allow the department to regulate, identify, and address transactions that may put the country’s cybersecurity at risk. The department will also implement procedures for a licensing process 120 days from publication.

Blocked Hardware and Software

The new rule will block the import of communications hardware and software which may include apps and technologies that collect user data such as drones and network surveillance cameras.

Additionally, the regulation may include products used in critical infrastructure and telecommunications networks, as well as artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

Last year, the US Justice Department indicted two Chinese individuals suspected of running a global hacking campaign targeting US intellectual property.

Tightening Control

News of the new rule came on the same day the Department of Commerce added Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to the Entity List and Chinese company Skyrizon to the Military End-User (MEU) List.

Names added to the Entity List are restricted from exporting, re-exporting, or transferring in-country items considered a risk to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. The MEU List will assist exporters in screening their customers.

In a press release, the US Department of Commerce described CNOOC as a “bully” and Skyrizon’s acquisition of foreign military technologies “a significant threat” to American security and interests.

The department also announced on the same day the imposition of  “new controls” on technologies and activities of US persons who are seen as “supporting foreign military-intelligence end users and end users in China, Cuba, Russia, and Venezuela” as well as in countries suspected of supporting terrorists.

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