Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, played off the NBA’s kowtowing to China controversy to warn about allowing the communist nation to get its hooks into America’s growing 5G network.
Appearing on Thursday’s Fox & Friends, Chairman Pai used the NBA’s troubles with its Chinese overlords to warn America not to let China get any control over America’s electronic communications networks.
“If the Chinese government has such leverage over NBA stars and the league itself, that raises the question, how else can they can export their censorship, their anti-Democratic values, and ultimately their control when it comes to even more important things like our 5G networks, the wireless networks of the future?” Pai said.
“Just imagine if we have 5G networks that power all of our industries that work for our military. What kind of leverage the Chinese government could exert over the operators here in the United States if they want information about how we’re doing business, how we live our lives,” Pai added.
Pai’s comments allude to recent comments by European Union officials who warned of “security challenges” if tech companies controlled by China or other dictatorial countries are allowed to control significant segments of the world’s communications networks.
The EU warned that some of these state-backed companies would exploit secret backdoors to user data. The 33-page report warns, “the likelihood of the supplier being subject to interference from a non-EU country…[and that] such interference may be facilitated [by the]…the third country’s legislation, especially where there are no legislative or democratic checks and balances in place.”
Pai noted that all this is a threat that the American people should not ignore and will not want to live with and that he would make sure it didn’t happen while he leads the FCC.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.