China Telecom's US arm sues in last-ditch bid to retain license

Company claims it poses no threat, yet regs want China influence out

The US subsidiary of China Telecom has filed an emergency appeal it hopes will prevent the impending revocation of the company's license to operate in the USA, which the The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) terminated in October on grounds the carrier is a national security threat.

"Absent a stay, ChinaTelAmericas will be forced to cease significant operations, irreparably harming its business, reputation, and relationships," according to the appeal filed with the US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia on Monday.

The carrier requested a decision by Friday, December 3, citing December 4 as the day the company must notify customers of service discontinuation.

The Chinese giant argued that the FCC rejected its request for a hearing and that there is no evidence it poses an imminent security threat.

"To date, this proceeding has spanned 18 months, during which time ChinaTelAmericas has continued to operate without incident, as it did for nearly two decades before that," the appeal states.

The FCC terminated China Telecom Americas Corporation's authority to provide telecom services within the USA on October 26, citing the telco's potential for exploitation, influence and control by the Chinese government and other national security risks – including the ability to access or disrupt US communication, leading to espionage and other harmful activities.

While China Telecom denied it could, would, or has done anything of the sort, it did mysteriously reroute European telco traffic through China in 2019 and was accused of doing similar things to US government communications in 2020.

The FCC's decision didn't make Beijing very happy, but China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology kept its objections quite mild, issuing a statement that accused the US of hiding behind the pretext of "national security" to act in an anti-competitive manner and violate international trade rules.

The US cracked down on other Chinese vendors last week on the grounds of security threats, as US president Joe Biden signed The Secure Equipment Act. The legislation prevents US regulators from even reviewing authorization applications for telecom equipment licenses on security grounds, thus eliminating concerns of a Beijing backdoor. ®

Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021