ICYMI: On C-SPAN’s “The Communicators,” Spanberger Calls for Stronger U.S. Response to Foreign-Based Cyber Threats, Highlights Her Bipartisan Bill to Build National 5G Strategy

HENRICO, V.A. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger—a Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee—is continuing her push to protect U.S. 5G telecommunications infrastructure from foreign-based threats.

In an interview on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators,” Spanberger highlighted that the U.S. House recently passed her bipartisan Secure 5G and Beyond Act, which 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. This strategy would also identify additional opportunities to spur research and development by U.S. companies in a way that maintains reliable internet access. Earlier this month, the U.S. House passed Spanberger’s bill by a vote of 413 to 3.

Click here to watch Spanberger’s full interview with C-SPAN Executive Producer Peter Slen and technology reporter Emily Birnbaum from The Hill.

“When we look at Huawei and ZTE, there are significant indicators that—because of Huawei’s close relationship with the Chinese military and Chinese intelligence, the use of Huawei technologies could create backdoors for areas of access to consumer data or company data that we would find unacceptable,” Spanberger said during the interview.

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 to address these national security threats.

Spanberger continued, “We need to ensure that the American public and American companies recognize the threat, and that we are taking action to make sure we have an alternative.”

Spanberger introduced her 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).

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.

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