Any U.S. Government facility or any facility receiving federal funding should be aware of the NDAA ban and proposed FCC ban on video surveillance cameras and components manufactured by certain Chinese companies. If your facility is considering future video surveillance integrations or has video surveillance using these technologies, there are some critical considerations surrounding compliance. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the NDAA?
The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act 2019 (NDAA) is a set of federal laws passed every year by Congress outlining the annual budget, expenditures, and policies for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Section 889 deals specifically with installing video surveillance “Prohibition On Certain Telecommunications And Video Surveillance Services Or Equipment” which states:
The head of an executive agency may not— (A) procure or obtain or extend or renew a contract to procure or obtain any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system; or (B) enter into a contract (or extend or renew a contract) with an entity that uses any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system. (2) Nothing in paragraph (1) shall be construed to— (A) prohibit the head of an executive agency from procuring with an entity to provide a service that connects to the facilities of a third-party, such as backhaul, roaming, or interconnection arrangements; or (B) cover telecommunications equipment that cannot route or redirect user data traffic or permit visibility into any user data or packets that such equipment transmits or otherwise handles.
“Telecommunications equipment” refers to:
- Any telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies Company, ZTE Corporation, (and any of its affiliate entities).
- Any video surveillance equipment produced by Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, or Dahua Technology Company (and any of their affiliate entities).
- Any telecommunications or video surveillance services provided by the companies mentioned above (or anyone using equipment manufactured by them).
This means that any security camera or recorder with any major components manufactured by one of these five Chinese companies and their subsidiaries is prohibited for federal government installations.
Proposed FCC Ban
Following this, the FCC voted unanimously to adopt the plan to ban NDAA-covered manufacturers. Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. and Dahua Technology Co. were named in an order the Federal Communications Commission adopted in a 4-0 vote on Thursday, July 15, 2021. Also named in the order were telecom giant ZTE Corp. and two-way radio maker Hytera Communications Corp.
What It Means
Should the ban go into effect as expected, here’s what it means for organizations using the banned products and for future integrations.
- The order would forbid U.S. sales of specified telecommunications and surveillance equipment from the companies.
- FCC said it also may revoke its previous authorization for equipment from the companies
- Likely to include a transition period for non-conforming equipment.
As the ban is finalized, organizations using the banned technologies will likely have to consider removing banned equipment and only use the NDAA and FCC compliant equipment. Fortunately, there are plenty of video surveillance options on the market that are NDAA-compliant.
What Should You Do?
- Speak to a security integrator knowledgeable about government compliance
- If you have banned products, take steps to replace them
- If you are a non-government organization and do not use federal funds but use the banned technologies, talk to an integrator about the risks
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