Will the Chinese government soon control the world’s top communication technology? U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio suggests so, and wants more information revealing the extent of that to be made public.
Rubio and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner want a declassified, comprehensive intelligence report on China’s 5G capabilities.
Specifically, the senators want the report to explain China’s participation in international standard-setting bodies regarding telecommunications.
Both Senators serve on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and said anecdotal evidence suggests China exerts undue political influence on ISSBs. That’s especially important as concerns circulate about Chinese companies allowing the government to spy on parties around the world.
The Florida Republican and Virginia Democrat wrote a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats urging he publish information.
“Not only does political influence undermine fair competition,” the letter reads, “it also raises serious economic and security concerns for 5G and future generations of wireless technologies.”
The letter from Rubio and Warner identified Huawei, as well as Chinese firm ZTE, as concerning players in the telecom space.
“In 2012, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s study on Huawei and ZTE drew attention globally to the security concerns associated with certain Chinese telecommunication and information technology companies,” the Senators’ letter reads.
“Similarly, we believe Chinese influence in our ISSBs is not fully appreciated, and the [Intelligence Community] can play an essential role in filling the publicly available information gap — a necessary first step to countering this trend.”
Rubio and Warner have sounded the alarm on Chinese capacity to spy using communications tech before.
When the two introduced legislation in January to combat technology-based threats from foreign actions, the senators called out China.
“I thank my Senate colleagues for recognizing the importance of this legislation and the continued threat posed by Chinese government’s assault on U.S. intellectual property, U.S. businesses, and our government networks and information with the full backing of the Chinese Communist Party,” Rubio said then.
With Warner, Rubio also sent a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last year asking the country to stop including Huawei in Canadian 5G technology efforts.