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US FCC chief: India’s Tiktok ban has set gold standard for the world

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US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Brendan Carr is on his very first visit to India. During the visit, he reportedly acknowledged India’s proactive measures against

cybersecurity threats

from

Chinese companies

or those associated with its political ideology. In an exclusive interaction with Economic Times, he said that India’s actions against potential commercial and security risks in the growing digital economy could serve as a model for the world.

He said that India’s actions on the short-video platform TikTok and telecom equipment suppliers Huawei and ZTE have “set the gold standard in terms of appropriate and strong actions to deal with the threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”
Carr suggested that the US could learn from India’s approach to device safety and security, and the authorization process to ensure only trusted devices are used in telecom networks.
He also emphasized the need for India and the US to maintain a shared vision of an open and inclusive internet, as an alternative to China and its allies who have created a version of the “splinter net.”
Carr reportedly expressed concern about countries allied with China potentially engaging in heavy censorship and creating a closed Internet. He stressed the importance of monitoring data localization to ensure it does not hinder the free flow and operation of the internet.

Carr also highlighted the need for ‘common sense guardrails’ to regulate tech companies, especially those working with emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI). He believes these guardrails should respect a diversity of political, religious, and scientific viewpoints without veering into censorship.
During his India visit, Carr is scheduled to meet with his regulatory counterparts in the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the Department of Telecommunications, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and other industry stakeholders.

Tiktok ban in 2020
In 2020, India was one of the first countries to ban TikTok and several other Chinese apps. Over the past four years, India has banned several other apps linked to China, including most owned by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance.
In June 2023, the US government prohibited the use of TikTok on federal and state government employees’ devices. While the US has banned the sale and import of telecom equipment from five Chinese companies, including Huawei and ZTE, India has implemented additional scrutiny for importing telecom equipment from companies originating in countries with which it shares a land border.
Wants US to follow India’s Tiktok ban
Carr expressed hope that the US Congress will take further action on TikTok, similar to their actions on Huawei and ZTE. He is confident that the US will continue to make progress on this issue, although not as quickly as he would like.
Carr believes that taking such actions to prevent the entry of unsafe devices and application layer services like TikTok is another area where India and the US can collaborate and strengthen their ties.
As manufacturers consider moving out of China and looking at India as an alternative for setting up their manufacturing units, Carr sees this as a beneficial opportunity for India, both economically and geopolitically.
He mentioned that there are several labs in India that review equipment to ensure they are transmitting on only authorized frequencies. He expressed interest in learning more about India’s equipment review process.

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