The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan bill that would build a national strategy to protect 5G telecommunications systems in the United States and among U.S. allies.
According to a 2018 North Atlantic Treaty Organization report, Huawei’s growing influence as a leading supplier of 5G technology could be exploited by China to engage in espionage, monitor foreign corporations and governments, and support Chinese military operations. In November 2019, the Federal Communications Commission placed greater restrictions on Huawei and fellow Chinese tech firm ZTE due to widespread security concerns. However, the United States still lacks a comprehensive strategy.
The legislation, led by U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger, is titled Secure 5G and Beyond Act. It would require the administration to develop an unclassified, national strategy to protect U.S. consumers and assist allies in maximizing the security of their 5G telecommunications systems. The strategy would also identify additional ways to spur research and development by U.S. companies in a way that maintains reliable internet access. Spanberger introduced th bipartisan legislation in May 2019 alongside U.S. Representatives Susan W. Brooks (R-IN-05), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01), Francis Rooney (R-FL-19), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21).
“The United States needs to be proactive in preventing any vulnerabilities that could be exploited by our adversaries. In our increasingly interconnected world, that means protecting our telecommunications and infrastructure, and those of our allies, from malign foreign interference,” said Rep. Rooney. “Today’s passage of this critical bill, which I was honored to cosponsor, will assist in ensuring the safety, security, and freedom of the United States and in safeguarding our technology infrastructure.”
“I’m proud to help pass this important bill to provide clarity and inter-agency strategy to secure 5th generation and future-generation telecommunications systems and infrastructure across the United States,” said Rep. Stefanik. “Ensuring the United States remains a leading global competitor in both the economy and technology is critical to the future of our nation. This bipartisan legislation requires the President to implement a strategy to secure these systems and maximize their security. I look forward to the bills implementation, and to protecting the competitiveness of American companies and the privacy of American consumers.”
The legislation passed in the U.S. House is the companion legislation to a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Richard Burr (R-NC).
Specifically, the bipartisan Secure 5G and Beyond Act would require the administration to build an interagency strategy to:
- Secure 5th generation and future-generation telecommunications systems and infrastructure across the United States;
- Assist U.S. allies and defense partners in maximizing the security of 5G systems and infrastructure in their countries; and
- Protect the competitiveness of U.S. companies, the privacy of U.S. consumers, and the integrity of international standards-setting bodies against foreign political influence.