President Donald Trump signed today an executive order to declare a national emergency and ban US companies from buying, installing, or using foreign-made telecommunications equipment, citing cyber-espionage fears.
"To deal with this threat, additional steps are required to protect the security, integrity, and reliability of information and communications technology and services provided and used in the United States," President Trump said in an executive order declaring a national emergency today.
The order's text specifically mentions equipment made by companies "owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries," meaning that telecommunications gear made in the EU or other allied states does not fall under its jurisdiction.
The ban is effectively targeting Chinese equipment providers, and especially Huawei, although no names were mentioned in the exective order's text.
US officials have long suggested that the company works closely with the Chinese government to allow Chinese intelligence to use its equipment to spy on the communications of foreign countries and their citizens.
Furthermore, the Chinese company has also amassed almost half of the 5G equipment market, moving the center of power away from western companies to China, and sparking fears that most 5G traffic will run predominating through Huawei gear, and put China in a better position to intercept and spy on the next evolution of the main mobile telecommunications protocol.
The US has attempted to ban Huawei and fellow company ZTE before, in early 2018, and finally succeeded after it passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last August -- for which Huawei has sued the United States in a case that is still ongoing.
The US government has also charged Huawei with violating US sanctions by doing business in Iran, and for stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile -- with Huawei pleading not guilty in both cases.
The US has also attempted to sway other countries in banning Huawei from providing 5G equipment for building national 5G networks. Some countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, have enacted bans, while some, like the UK, have ignored the US' warnings.
Huawei warned last year that a ban on its 5G equipment in the US would increase prices and put the US behind in the 5G race. Huawei did not return a request for additional comment today.
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