US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is not stopping with his attacks on China, albeit he is going hammer and tongs with his policies to corner China. In a related step, Mike Pompeo, on Wednesday, extended Washington’s 5G Clean Path program to encompass carriers, app stores, cloud computing, and subsea cables under the Clean Network umbrella.
In the statement released by White House, Pompeo has urged US mobile app stores to remove “untrusted” Chinese-owned apps – including TikTok and messaging app WeChat.
“Huawei, an arm of the PRC surveillance state, is trading on the innovations and reputations of leading US and foreign companies,” Pompeo said. It is imperative to note that the US Federal Communications Commission had formally designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats, back in June. He further added that apps from China threaten privacy and spread malware, propaganda, and disinformation.
Pompeo’s clean network campaign was initially focused on pushing countries to ban Chinese vendors from 5G networks. However, given the threat of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continuously looming over the US and world citizens, Pompeo has broadened the horizon and urged its allies around the world to join the growing tide to secure the precious data from the CCP’s surveillance state and other malign entities from China.
Pompeo said that the extension was needed to guard against “aggressive intrusions” by the Chinese Communist Party and called other nations as well, to create a “Clean fortress” around citizen’s data.
One of the new points under Pompeo’s extended clean network campaign was- saving sensitive personal data from Chinese cloud hosting companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent. All of them have been accused of harvesting the user’s data from foreign countries and supplying it back to CCP in mainland China.
“To prevent U.S. citizens’ most sensitive personal information and our businesses’ most valuable intellectual property, including COVID-19 vaccine research, from being stored and processed on cloud-based systems accessible to our foreign adversaries through companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent.” read the statement released on White House’s website.
Likewise, under the Clean Cable strategy, the US will attempt to prevent China from gathering intelligence from subsea cables “at hyper-scale”.
Pompeo, on Wednesday, called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to revoke and terminate the authorization of China Telecom and three other providers, which he did not identify, to provide international telecommunication services to and from the US.
The ‘Clean network’ campaign and its genesis lie in the Trump administration’s vociferous campaign to expel the Chinese espionage tech giant ‘Huawei’ from countries all around the globe.
So far Trump has been successful in persuading countries like the UK and France to ditch Huawei, but, Angela Merkel led Germany has been testing Donald Trump’s patience on this issue.
Earlier in April, Donald Trump had announced the Clean Path initiative to secure data travelling on 5G networks into the US and simultaneously decoupling itself from the menace of Huawei.
“We don’t want companies to be complicit in Huawei’s human rights abuses, or the [Chinese Communist Party’s] surveillance apparatus,” Pompeo had told reporters in Washington.
Stopping Huawei’s incursions into next-generation 5G networks has now become a priority for President Donald Trump and he has personally appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other world leaders to ban the company that the US has linked to Beijing’s intelligence-gathering capability.
Indian telcos have so far been at a pole’s distance from Huawei and Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani had even told Trump during his February visit to India that Jio was the only network in the world to not have a single Chinese component.
In a tweet, Mike Pompeo had mentioned that Jio—one of the leading telecom companies in the world had become a clean telco by rejecting doing business with tools of the CCP surveillance state, like Huawei.
The tide is turning toward trusted 5G vendors and away from Huawei. The world’s leading telecom companies—Telefonica, Orange, Jio, Telstra, and many more—are becoming “Clean Telcos.” They are rejecting doing business with tools of the CCP surveillance state, like Huawei.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) June 24, 2020
The Trump administration is at the tails of another Chinese app—TikTok, and has given it the ultimatum to sell its entire business to Microsoft or be prepared to get banned from the States.
With the five-point clean-network initiative, the USA has got itself into the business end of the proceedings and Pompeo is all set to roughen up Chinese businesses. Considering all this, the tough times are ahead for Beijing and its affiliated companies.