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

Pompeo had unveiled the Clean Network initiative in April, calling upon countries and corporations to join the effort to safeguard the privacy and thwart any attempt to obtain most sensitive information by “malign actors”, explicitly naming the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The Trump administration has termed some of the largest telecom companies around the globe as ‘Clean Telcos’.(REUTERS)
The Trump administration has termed some of the largest telecom companies around the globe as ‘Clean Telcos’.(REUTERS)
Updated on Nov 22, 2020 06:12 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday announced that Brazil, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic are now members of The Clean Network, a Trump administration’s initiative to purge Chinese tech companies from 5G network. The top US diplomat tweeted that “53 Clean Countries, 180 Clean Telcos, and dozens of leading companies” have joined the tide toward trusted 5G network.

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

In August, the State Secretary 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 termed some of the largest telecom companies around the globe as “Clean Telcos”, including Jio in India and O2 in the United Kingdom.

Also Read | Canadian MPs urge Justin Trudeau government to toughen stand on Chinese ‘intimidation’, Huawei’s role

Here is everything you need to know about the US initiative:

Clean Carrier: The State Department said that Chinese carriers pose a danger to US national security. It stated that such companies should not provide international telecommunications services to and from the United States.

Clean Store: The program is aimed at removing untrusted applications from US mobile app stores. The department accused Chinese apps of threatening privacy, proliferating viruses, censoring content, and spreading propaganda and disinformation.

Clean Apps: The Trump administration called Huawei an arm of China’s “surveillance state”, accusing it of trading on the innovations and reputations of leading US and foreign companies. The initiative is aimed at preventing untrusted Chinese smartphone manufacturers from pre-installing trusted apps or from making available for download on their apps store.

Clean Cloud: It is aimed at preventing US citizens’ most sensitive personal information and businesses’ most valuable intellectual property, including COVID-19 vaccine research, from being stored and processed on cloud-based systems accessible to foreign adversaries. The department singled out Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, China Mobile, China Telecom, and Tencent.

Clean Cable: Pompeo said that the administration is working to ensure that the CCP can’t compromise information carried by the undersea cables that connect the US and other countries to the global internet. The state department said that it will work with foreign partners to ensure that undersea cables around the world aren’t similarly subject to compromise.

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

Later, the US dealt a massive blow to Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. by expanding the scope of Foreign Direct Product Rule, which was aimed at preventing Huawei from circumventing US law. The Commerce Department added 38 Huawei affiliates to its Entity List which identifies foreign parties prohibited from receiving certain sensitive technologies.

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