- China’s tech ambitions raise questions in the US about the security of communications infrastructure.
- The FirstNet devices in the US contain Chinese components that could pose potential security risks.
- Experts fear Chinese laws could force companies to share data with intelligence agencies.
China’s ambitions to dominate the world through the use of smart technologies are met with growing concerns in the US. The focus is particularly on the security of the communication infrastructure. The main reason for this concern is the FirstNet devices used in US emergency equipment, which contain Chinese modules.
The select committee chair, Rep. Mike Gallagher, warns that such modules could be used as possible backdoors for malicious access. Despite the uncertainties, the FirstNet Authority emphasizes that it uses various security measures to protect its devices. Still, according to Newsweek, concerns are growing in the US Congress, and this is being seen as a new chapter in the technology race between the two superpowers.
Similar measures as requested against Huawei
A letter from the House Select Committee has asked the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take similar action as against Huawei. The aim is to keep companies like Quectel, which are less in the limelight but still produce critical technology, away from America’s 5G infrastructure, Newsweek reports.
The exponential growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) plays a key role in this. The ubiquitous use of such technologies could give Chinese intelligence agencies access to a wealth of data. This does not only apply to emergency equipment: other critical sectors such as energy and transport could also be affected.
Experts point out that China’s national security laws could force companies to share data with intelligence agencies. Such modules could be deployed against the United States in times of crisis for sabotage purposes. However, Newsweek quotes FirstNet officials assuring that Chinese components are configured not to forward data to China. However, some security experts and ex-officials have expressed doubts about these assurances.