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should you be installing equipment that the FCC may ban like Hikvision and Dahua

August 27,  2021
should you be installing equipment that the FCC may ban in private and government networks like Hikvision and Dahua
          Have you been following the news about the FCC voting, in June 2021, to explore the ban of certain products being sold and  connected to private communications networks here in the US?   I've read that in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 (NDAA), there was a ban on various technology products manufactured in China and used in US government installations, obviously because of concern over cybersecurity. This equipment, such as surveillance cameras, including manufacturers such as Hikvision and Dahua, and the OEM's of these two companies were, apparently, included in that ban.  So, the ban of this equipment initially affected Federal government buildings and installations but, now, with the FCC's vote to look at banning this technology in private industry, am I right in assuming that these products will soon become non-existent here in the USA? Would this also mean existing installations would need to be either replaced or disconnected from a communications network?  I'm not sure how that would be enforced.  
          I still see lots of their products being offered for sale in distribution here, I'm assuming for use in private industry, but I'm concerned about how the FCC's impending action may impact those selling and installing this equipment.  Many of us in the security trade still use this equipment, selling it to our customers and even installing it in our own homes and businesses.  There are manufacturers of this equipment who are not included in the NDAA ban and offer their equipment as NDAA compliant.  However, moving to a new manufacturing line after many years of standardizing on a few, is costly and not so easy to do.  When these affected systems need to be upgraded or repaired, the decision has to be made whether or not to continue with the non-NDAA compliant equipment or switch to NDAA compliant.  This brings up a few questions about liability in selling equipment that might soon be banned here in the USA.  It's not banned now, so it's available and can be sold, installed and maintained. 
          If we sell and install this equipment now, to non-government clients, and the FCC does vote to ban this equipment for use on private networks, what legal ramifications are we going to face?  How can we make sure we protect ourselves from clients demanding complete replacement of a system that becomes banned after installation?   Should we be providing information about the possible FCC action now, getting the client to acknowledge the warning?
          Unless there is law banning use of equipment, foreign or domestic, you are free to sell and install it.  You don’t have a crystal ball and you have no way of knowing if a ban is on the way.  Unless you believe there is a technical reason not to use particular equipment you are free to install it.
          The business side is another matter.  It makes little sense to install equipment that you have reason to believe other alarm companies, in the future, may not want to be involved with.  This is no different than using unusual brands, hard to get brands, brands that require authorized dealers and unpopular brands, because when you go to sell your accounts you may find you have limited your pool or prospective buyers or have no buyers. 
          I may be taking a very conservative position, from a political perspective, but your customers can read just as well as you can; maybe better.  Obviously you can’t hide what equipment you are using.  Maybe potentially banned equipment starts being offered cheap, so you start using that equipment and telling your customers that you use something else.  Bad idea. 
          Interestingly enough that does come to mind is that the All in One agreements do provide that you have no liability to repair or replace, for free, obsolete equipment, and that may include by definition banned equipment. 

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301