The Chinese telecommunications carrier, China Unicom, was blocked from offering telecom services in the U.S. on Thursday by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over concerns about Chinese spying.

Chairperson Jessica Rosenworcel wrote on the news that the FCC revoked “China Unicom Americas’ domestic and international section 214 authority and direct[ed] China Unicom Americas to discontinue within 60 days of the release of this order any domestic or international services that it provides.”

As a Chinese state-controlled company, that government has access to all of Unicom’s information and data, potentially putting consumers in the U.S. at risk. Commissioner Geoffrey Starks added that the lack of compliance and truthfulness from China Unicom contributed to the decision.

“[Unicom] is highly likely to be forced to company with Chinese government requests — including the disclosure of communications by American citizens — without legal protections or judicial oversight,” Starks wrote in a statement about the news.

“At each stage in the process, China Unicom Americas had an opportunity to respond. And at each stage, China Unicom Americas’ responses were incomplete, misleading, or incorrect,” wrote Rosenworcel.

Starks also added that just because Unicom has lost the section 214 authority, that does not mean that they cannot offer services to U.S. consumers. Legally, if the Chinese government wants data from U.S. consumers of China Unicom, those data centers hosting Unicom’s service in the U.S. will have to comply even if that request is illegal in the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security has warned these data centers of the potential risk.

“The FCC currently lacks jurisdiction to address this potential national security threat,” Starks added.

It is not the first time that the FCC has taken action against Chinese telecommunications companies for similar concerns. The FCC also took actions against China Mobile USA in 2019 and China Telecom Americas in 2021, showing consistency in policy and guidance over three years.

“The threat to our networks from entities aligned with Communist China is one we must address head-on . . . but as the threat landscape evolves, so too must our response,” wrote Commissioner Brendan Carr.

The Trump administration had similar concerns about TikTok, leading to the Chinese-based company ByteDance's platform nearly being banned in the U.S.

Meanwhile, abroad Israeli company NSO Group’s spyware Pegasus continues to be a concern with Hungarian journalists announcing that they plan to take legal action against the right-wing Hungarian government and NSO.