Huawei asks courts to overturn FCC’s national security threat designation

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The Trump administration may have been the first to put Huawei in its crosshairs, but the new Biden administration is keeping the heat on

Chinese telecommunications manufacturer Huawei has asked a court to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) late 2020 classification of it as a national security threat.

Huawei has a tainted reputation on Capitol Hill, starting when it came under scrutiny for allegedly implanting malicious hardware or software into its components and systems. The company maintains that the FCC overstepped the boundaries of its authority in issuing the new designation. 

“The order on review potentially impacts the financial interests of the telecommunications industry as a whole,” Huawei’s request said. By “whole,” the company is referring to network operators the FCC locked out of buying Huawei-made parts. 

The latest skirmish is not Huawei’s first with the FCC. In 2019, the agency voted to cut off any federal funds used to buy Huawei products. That move grew into a bill that officially prevented U.S. companies from rolling out wireless networks with Huawei’s equipment -- or that of its Chinese peer, ZTE. Huawei also tried to reverse that decision but came up empty. 

The FCC added even more misery for the telecom maker in December 2020 by voting to make companies replace existing Huawei equipment.

Biden’s FCC backs up Trump’s FCC

The Trump administration was not exactly Chinese commerce’s best friend. From attempts to ban popular China-based phone apps like TikTok and WeChat to a slugfest over trade issues, Trump took it to China with both fists. 

If China was hoping for a respite from the Biden administration, the FCC’s move is the first to dash those hopes. To date, President Biden has not made a move to keep the war on TikTok alive, but his administration is supporting what the Trump administration’s FCC did in its Huawei decree. 

“Last year the FCC issued a final designation identifying Huawei as a national security threat based on a substantial body of evidence developed by the FCC and numerous U.S. national security agencies. We will continue to defend that decision,” a spokesperson told The Verge.

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