China Mobile has reportedly been censoring content banned by the Chinese government’s “great firewall,” even when Chinese citizens are in the United States — prompting the FCC to debate its license.
According to the Washington Post, on Monday, the U.S. Department of Commerce “recommended the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) deny a license to China Mobile, the state-run company that is the world’s largest phone network by subscribers.”
“The Commerce Department suggested the move because of the national security risk China Mobile poses,” they explained, adding that China Mobile is an “arm of the Chinese state,” and that “those with China Mobile as their carrier are often unable to access American websites and apps that are banned in China.”
One Chinese journalist was reportedly unable to access Facebook, the New York Times, and Google Maps from their phone while in the United States.
Another user, Shanghai analyst May Sun, warned that the “Great Firewall” doesn’t stop when you enter the United States as a Chinese citizen.
“[It] is exactly the same as when you surf on the Internet at home,” May Sun declared. “You still don’t have access to what is blocked by the Great Firewall.”
In a statement, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) called China Mobile an “unacceptable risk.”
“Granting the authorization poses an unacceptable risk to U.S. national security and law enforcement,” NTIA proclaimed. “This assessment rests in large part on China’s record of intelligence activities and economic espionage targeting the United States, along with China Mobile’s size and technical and financial resources.”
Last month, it was reported that over 20 venture capital firms in Silicon Valley have “close ties” to the Chinese government, while this year, Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei was identified as a security risk.