The Clean Network: All about US initiative to purge Chinese tech companies from 5G network


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Sunday that Brazil, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic are now members of The Clean Network, a Trump administration initiative to purge Chinese tech companies from the 5G network. The senior US diplomat tweeted that “53 clean countries, 180 clean telecommunications companies and dozens of top companies” have joined the trend towards a trusted 5G network.

Pompeo unveiled the Clean Network initiative in April, calling on countries and businesses to join the effort to safeguard privacy and thwart any attempt to obtain the most sensitive information by “malicious actors”, explicitly naming the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In August, the Secretary of State announced the expansion of the Clean Network program which included Clean Carrier, Clean Store, Clean Apps, Clean Cloud and Clean Cable. The Trump administration has called some of the world’s largest telecommunications companies “Clean Telcos,” including Jio in India and O2 in the UK.

Read also | Canadian MPs urge Justin Trudeau government to toughen stance on Chinese ‘bullying’, Huawei role

Here’s everything you need to know about the US initiative:

Own carrier: The State Department has declared that Chinese carriers pose a threat to US national security. She said these companies should not provide international telecommunications services to and from the United States.

Own store: The program aims to remove untrusted apps from US mobile app stores. The department accused Chinese apps of threatening privacy, proliferating viruses, censoring content, and spreading propaganda and disinformation.

Clean up apps: The Trump administration has called Huawei an arm of China’s “watch state”, accusing it of negotiating on the innovations and reputation of major US and foreign companies. The initiative aims to prevent Chinese manufacturers of unapproved smartphones from preinstalling trusted apps or making them available for download from their app store.

Clean Cloud: It aims to prevent the most sensitive personal information of U.S. citizens and the most valuable corporate intellectual property, including COVID-19 vaccine research, from being stored and processed on cloud systems accessible to foreign adversaries . The department honored Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, China Mobile, China Telecom and Tencent.

Clean cable: Pompeo said the administration was working to ensure that the CCP could not compromise information carried by the submarine cables that connect the United States and other countries to the global Internet. The State Department has said it will work with foreign partners to ensure submarine cables around the world are not also subject to compromise.

Clean path: Pompeo announced that the State Department will begin requiring a clean path for all 5G network traffic entering and exiting U.S. diplomatic facilities. The 5G Clean Path is an end-to-end communication path that does not use any transmission, control, compute, or storage equipment from unapproved IT vendors.

The United States later dealt a blow to Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. by expanding the scope of the foreign direct products rule, which aimed to prevent Huawei from circumventing US law. The Commerce Department has added 38 Huawei affiliates to its list of entities that identifies foreign parties prohibited from receiving certain sensitive technologies.


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