back to article FCC boss to block 'national security risk' companies (cough, Huawei, ZTE) from US's $8.5bn broadband pot

Federal Communications Commission boss Ajit Pai wants to cut some overseas companies out of the market for lucrative US government broadband contracts if they are deemed a threat to the Land of the Free™. On Monday, the FCC chairman announced the restrictions on its $8.5bn Universal Service Fund, which is earmarked for …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's the Chinese Black one-eyed Muslim Vegan One-legged Jews you have to watch out for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Careless! You forgot gay and/or "transgender".

      Not sure if they overlap or counteract, after listening to a gay activist arguing with a transgender militant on R4 recently. Apparently that sort of debate is of public interest according to the Tristrams of the BBC.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "You forgot gay and/or "transgender""

        How late-20th century of you...

        We have moved beyond such quaint labels. We are postgender now. All of us. Even you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Did you just assume my transgender?

          1. Korev Silver badge
            Joke

            Maybe he was trying to aCist you

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Did you just assume my transgender?"

            Just your identity.

  2. John F***ing Stepp

    Well

    My other tablet does have a bit of China ware.

    Annoying as hell; I don't use it much anymore.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If US investigators believe that certain Chinese communications equipment poses a national security risk, then it must present a risk to EVERY country besides China? If it's a given that US kit also presents a security risk, then what everyone else needs is open source comms hardware and software that can be independently verified.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      You may be right, but this is the US worrying about the US. EVERY country can go shaft itself, as per normal US Foreign Policy.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        The point being that the Eu, Japan, Korea can now ban US kit for exactly the same - and the US can hardly complain to the WTO

      2. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

        US is for US

        And just what else should the US government worry about? Should Google execs care about the welfare of Dell stockholders?

        I expect the leaders of any nation to worry about their own people first & foremost. If it is in the benefit of their people to be on kindly terms with mine, great. If not, well, that's the way it goes.

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "like the NSA used to bug kit"

    What's this "used to" shit, compadre? Does anybody seriously think they stopped?

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Used to, as in...

      "I used to do drugs.

      "I still do, but I used to, too."

      –– Mitch Hedberg

      1. David Roberts Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Used to, as in...

        I don't drink any more.

        .

        .

        .

        .

        I don't drink any less, either.

  5. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

    How Deep Do You Want to Go

    Any component that is sourced outside the US is a supply chain risk. Think back to the failures over the years due to substandard components such as capacitors. It isn't just chips or assembled equipment. Be lovely to see F-35's crashing due to over temp on marginal equipment or surges of one sort or another. NOT.

    Supply chain risk is something that has only recently reared its head amongst the halls of power. In the security community we've been thinking hard on it for some 15 years that I've been involved. How often are glue chips decapped to verify their isn't something dodgy going on? Conducted a random sample of resistors using a gas chromatograph recently and regularly? How about that hydraulic actuator? Absolutely no easy answers or quick fixes. And it won't be cheap either.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: How Deep Do You Want to Go

      Who says a component sourced from the US won't be substandard? Corporations all over the world have profit motives to cut corners and make more money, this isn't something unique to China.

      Instead of spending crazy amounts of money on components and trusting the company you are buying them from will use all that extra money to do the stringent tests you require, perhaps they should buy components on the open market - through shell companies so the sellers won't know they are selling to the DoD (so they can't jack up the price etc.)

      They'd still specify high quality but not give a DoD-like list of conditions, and instead hire several testing firms to test all the components, and verify they meet the required standards. If they don't, they axe that supplier and buy more from the others. If one testing firm is not catching the failures the others are, axe it.

      I bet the whole procurement process would be far cheaper done like this.

      1. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

        Re: How Deep Do You Want to Go

        When I was at AMD (in the '90s), we had a certification program for motherboard manufacturers. It was a constant game to ensure that the BOM (bill of materials) was properly honored. We even had cases where parts would change while the part numbers were the same.

        So, yeah. There is work to be done. And believe me, the US DOD has been well aware of it since at least the Cold War.

        Now if you REALLY want a good time, try building a radio intercept facility to listen in on Soviet-bloc communications...

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: How Deep Do You Want to Go

        "through shell companies so the sellers won't know they are selling to the DoD (so they can't jack up the price etc.)"

        1. What makes you think the companies putting up bids aren't shell companies themselves?

        2. What makes you think the bidders won't try to figure out that the buyer isn't the DoD in disguise?

  6. JohnFen Silver badge

    Whatever

    Maybe it's a "national security risk", but it's more likely that it's an effort to restrict competition for the major US telecom equipment manufacturers.

    Pai's (and by extension, the FCC's) credibility is shot, and I'm certainly not going to think something is likely to be true just because they say it is.

    1. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

      Re: Whatever

      A little from column B, a bunch from column A. Which is which? Hard to say.

      I am aware of a recent report from someone in the Pentagon that the entire Chinese society should now be viewed as a security threat. If we start acting on this, there will be a lot more repercussions.

  7. fobobob
    Coat

    Can't get more American than Ajit Pie. I mean Pai.

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Hasn't he been sacked yet ?

  8. Ole Juul Silver badge

    NDA

    "The two China-based hardware manufacturers have found themselves subject to intense scrutiny as of late for their close ties to the Chinese government."

    What exactly does "close ties" mean? What American (or other country) company doesn't have close ties to the government. Even just by way of being incorporated there. The government in all countries, though especially in USA, has huge control over what companies do and even order non disclosure agreements sometimes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NDA

      How does C-level executives being formerly of significant government agencies strike you?

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: NDA

        Yep. Something Idjit Pai seems to be steering towards as rapidly as he can.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: NDA

        How does C-level executives being formerly of significant government agencies

        Much like the rotating open door between the US & UK militaries and the various defense and tech companies?

      3. Yes Me Silver badge

        Re: NDA

        "How does C-level executives being formerly of significant government agencies strike you?"

        It strikes me as absolutely typical in every country, especially the US. Given how the Chinese economy works, it would be amazing if it wasn't also true of many large Chinese companies.

        So, it's irrelevant. Pai is a Trumpista and following the Trump line. In terms of how industrial economies work, this whole business is just self-foot-shooting.

    2. j2f8j8j2fj

      Re: NDA

      Huawei execs are CCP members and ZTE is actually part state-owned.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chinese Mobile phone owner

    After the recent shenanigans the manufacturer of my phone pulled over the last 6 months I would sadly have to agree.

    Can we add Alcatel to this list?

  10. David Roberts Silver badge
    Holmes

    Paranoia

    Then again, just because you think they are out to get you, doesn’t mean that they aren't.

    Buying stuff from abroad is an obvious increased security risk. Is it outweighed by increased functionality and reduced cost? Now? In a year?

    How about supplier lock in?

    Insoluble because we all know that if you run a captive market in your own country then building a bigger barrel for the pork is a higher priority than innovation and cost reduction.

  11. chivo243 Silver badge

    levy vs levee

    Not sure what the reference is here? Levys get thrown on a server. A server can be thrown onto a levee...

  12. JaitcH
    WTF?

    "Threats to privacy posed by US communications equipment providers are a matter of concern"

    It's NOT the Chinese we need to worry about rather its the bunch of amoral characters employed by governments in Gloucestershire and Maryland - and many other locations around the globe.

    Why, otherwise, is CISCO a preferred supplier?

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