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FCC (or Motorola...): Hytera is a National Security Threat?

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FCC List of Equipment and Services That Pose National Security Threat

Released On: Mar 12, 2021




"FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau publishes a list of communications equipment and services that are deemed a threat to national security, consistent with requirements in the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019"


A later link takes you to a document with more detail on Hytera's issues:


"Covered Equipment or Services


Video surveillance and telecommunications equipment produced or provided by Hytera Communications Corporation, to the extent it is used for the purpose of public safety, security of government facilities, physical security surveillance of critical infrastructure, and other national security purposes, including telecommunications or video surveillance services produced or provided by such entity or using such equipment."




Commentary:  It looks like Motorola is getting great value for their DC lobbying investments.  Some GMRS licensees that use Hytera products (including me) will find it amusing that they have again gone to the courts to kill their most viable competitor.  So, instead of providing products that meet their customer's needs, Motorola has found it more cost-effective to pursue the low road.  They are getting really lazy - not the same company when it was under the Galvins.   


For those not having used Hytera's higher-end mobile, portable and repeater products (similar build quality to Motorola in their DMR lines, designed originally for the Chinese police forces, etc.), you will find them to be superior from a feature, capability and ETSI compliance standpoint.  Not even close.                


While I support death to the CCP (our greatest enemy) and the concern over camera equipment, I will give credit to Hytera for their product design efforts, even though they likely lifted some marginally important IP from Motorola (another ongoing litigation issue).   As the repeaters have Ethernet connectivity, I can see a concern there that might be mitigated through a simple "air gap". 


This policy will really kick Hytera's a** in the utility market and elsewhere.  They do not manufacturer any P25 products. 


FCC List of Equipment and Services That Pose National Security Threat

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It really depends on how you look at it as to if it's truly a threat or not.  Motorola figured out that DMR is a REALLY bad idea for public safety  in the VHF and UHF bands.  Issue being the way that the FCC granted frequencies in those bands during the days of wide band FM don't work with DMR.  CO-channel users interfere with each other a lot when one is on DMR and the other is on analog. 


Second is the unwritten requirement of interoperability and THAT specifically being a matter of national security.  Motorola does not, and will not make a radio that is DMR and P25.  P25 is the standard for public safety. DMR is really in the US for public safety.  So if it ends up there, and everyone else is using P25 then there is an incompatibility that can't easily be overcome.  Sure there is patching and other means.  But you are not going to take a DMR radio and turn the knob and talk to the P25 system or vice versa.  This in some twisted interpretation of things be considered a threat to the national security, depending on the situation and circumstance.  If the commies are invading down through some border town North Dakota, and the local PD is on DMR, they can't warn of the pending invasion,,,, I guess because the rest of everyone else is on P25,,, maybe... i guess.


But Hytera is a Chinese company.  Meaning they are run by that government.  Are they friendly to us???????? Depends on who you ask and when you ask.  But with any communications gear, are there internal things going on there or could there be that may breach data security?  If you put into a IP networked device to "call home" and bury that in the code that no one will see.  How closely is the IP network traffic being watched as it's exiting a repeater?  

If they get the conversations from some hammie or warehouse worker about a toilet being clogged, who cares.  If they are getting personal information about people having their tags run by law enforcement, getting SSN's addresses and such, that could be a problem.  IS it an issue?  Probably not.... but one firmware update could change that.

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