Working together, U.S. Reps. Young Kim (R-CA) and Kathy Manning (D-NC) reintroduced the Securing Global Telecommunications Act (H.R.4741) last week, resurrecting an attempt to push global telecommunications security by clamping down on foreign influence.
Specifically, the bill was geared toward ousting Chinese and Russian influences around the world. It would put much of this burden on the State Department, charging the agency with crafting a new strategy to promote trusted vendors in critical telecommunications infrastructure categories and reporting on Chinese and Russian efforts to promote their interests at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Additionally, the department would need to identify opportunities for multilateral collaboration on telecom security.
A previous version of the bill advanced through the House in 2022, but went no further.
“The Chinese Communist Party should not write the rules of the road for global networks. As adversaries move to dominate global telecommunications infrastructure, we must take steps to secure our networks and ensure the United States leads in global telecommunications standards,” Kim, chair of the House Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific, said. “The Securing Global Telecommunications Act will help the U.S. prioritize our national security, work with our allies to counter foreign malign influence, and boost U.S. competitiveness.”
To guarantee these efforts remain at the forefront, H.R. 4741 would also create the International Digital Economic and Telecommunication Advisory Committee (IDET), charging it with advising the Cyberspace and Digital Policy Bureau on matters of information and communications technology. Further, a permanent IDET private sector subcommittee would be authorized.
“Russia and China are working to assert dominance over critical technologies such as 5G and AI,” Manning said. “This poses a serious threat to national and global security. The United States and our allies must counter these efforts by developing and deploying secure telecommunications and tech infrastructure.”