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Commercial Businesses should be aware of the NDAA ban and FCC proposed ban on certain Chinese video surveillance technologies and their components. The banned technologies that have been identified have been determined to pose a serious risk to national security. While the ban currently applies to U.S government buildings or facilities that receive funding from the federal government, these restrictions are likely to expand, and the threat posed by the technology remains a concern within the commercial sector.
The NDAA Section 889
The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act 2019 (NDAA) is a set of federal laws passed every year by Congress outlining the annual budget, expenditures, and policies for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Section 889 deals specifically with installing video surveillance “Prohibition On Certain Telecommunications And Video Surveillance Services Or Equipment”. It reads:
The head of an executive agency may not— (A) procure or obtain or extend or renew a contract to procure or obtain any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system; or (B) enter into a contract (or extend or renew a contract) with an entity that uses any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system. (2) Nothing in paragraph (1) shall be construed to— (A) prohibit the head of an executive agency from procuring with an entity to provide a service that connects to the facilities of a third-party, such as backhaul, roaming, or interconnection arrangements; or (B) cover telecommunications equipment that cannot route or redirect user data traffic or permit visibility into any user data or packets that such equipment transmits or otherwise handles.
In this order, “Telecommunications Equipment” refers to:
- Any telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies Company, ZTE Corporation, (and any of its affiliate entities).
- Any video surveillance equipment produced by Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, or Dahua Technology Company (and any of their affiliate entities).
- Any telecommunications or video surveillance services provided by the companies mentioned above (or anyone using equipment manufactured by them).
This means that any security camera or recorder with any major components manufactured by one of these Chinese companies and their subsidiaries is prohibited for federal government installations.
Proposed FCC Ban
Following this, the FCC voted unanimously to adopt the plan to ban NDAA-covered manufacturers. Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. and Dahua Technology Co. were named in an order the Federal Communications Commission adopted in a 4-0 vote on Thursday, July 15, 2021. The pending regulation also named telecom giant ZTE Corp. and two-way radio maker Hytera Communications Corporation in the order, expanding the ban.
At the time of this writing, it is unknown whether the FCC will vote to revoke all installations or just prevent future ones.
Should the ban go into effect as expected, here’s what it means for organizations using the banned products and for future integrations.
- The order would forbid U.S. sales of specified telecommunications and surveillance equipment from the companies.
- FCC said it also may revoke its previous authorization for equipment from the companies
- Likely to include a transition period for non-conforming equipment.
At this time, it is difficult to know the future regarding these specific banned technologies as they relate to non-federally funded facilities. It is possible that compliance could move toward the restriction of their use in other applications as well. As the ban is finalized, organizations using the banned technologies will likely have to consider removing banned equipment and only use the NDAA and FCC compliant equipment.
What Should Commercial Facilities Do?
Fortunately, there are plenty of video surveillance options on the market that are NDAA-compliant. Here are the steps you should take.
- Speak to a security integrator knowledgeable about government compliance
- If you have banned products, take steps to replace them
- If you are a non-government organization and do not use federal funds but use the banned technologies, talk to an integrator about the risks
SSP offers best-in-class service and custom solutions to meet the unique needs of our commercial clients. Our solutions are scalable and can grow with you as necessary and never lock you into proprietary systems that are cumbersome and without the ability to expand. The SSP Service Excellence program is top in its class, delivering the industry’s most complete after installation support. If you are concerned about the ban on these technologies, please contact SSP today. 1-888-540-1075