WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald J. Trump signed into law U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger’s bipartisan legislation requiring a national strategy to protect American 5G telecommunications systems from foreign-based threats.
As thousands of Central Virginians move to telework, online business transactions, and remote learning in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic, the importance of cybersecurity is once again highlighted. Additionally, cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns could target U.S. food supplies, hospitals, and emergency response systems during this crisis. In recent weeks, the U.S. government has also warned against foreign-based malware attacks and phishing scams targeting American families and seniors as they seek information on and protection from COVID-19.
To better identify and address existing vulnerabilities across U.S. telecommunications systems, Spanberger’s Secure 5G and Beyond Act requires the administration to develop an unclassified, national strategy to protect U.S. consumers and assist U.S. allies in maximizing the security of their 5G telecommunications systems, particularly as the influence of foreign 5G firms like Huawei and ZTE continues to grow. This strategy will also identify additional ways to spur research and development on 5G by U.S. companies.
The bipartisan law was led in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).
“With a newly remote workforce and many of our businesses increasing their online operations to stay afloat, we are reminded of the importance of secure telecommunications systems. We need to build a national gameplan—informed by experts and public consultation—that can protect our neighbors from potential foreign counterintelligence efforts,” said Spanberger. “I’m proud to see my legislation signed into law by the President, because our national security in the coming decades will depend in part on our ability to defend our networks, enhance U.S. competitiveness in the realm of 5G technology, and anticipate emerging threats posed by nefarious actors. I’d like to thank Senator Cornyn for his leadership on this issue in the Senate, and I look forward to following and overseeing the administration’s work to implement this bipartisan legislation to keep our communities safe.”
Earlier this month, both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Secure 5G and Beyond Act before sending the legislation to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. In January 2020, the U.S. House voted 413 to 3 to pass the House version of Spanberger’s bill.
Spanberger introduced her bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House 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). On the day of the bill’s introduction, Spanberger discussed the Secure 5G and Beyond Act on CBS News. Click here to watch the full interview.
Specifically, the bipartisan Secure 5G and Beyond Act requires that the administration 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.
In January, Spanberger joined C-SPAN’s “The Communicators” to highlight the U.S. House passing her bipartisan bill. Click here to watch Spanberger’s full interview with C-SPAN Executive Producer Peter Slen and technology reporter Emily Birnbaum from The Hill.
Spanberger’s bipartisan bill was passed in the House Foreign Affairs Committee in October 2019 and passed in the House Energy and Commerce Committee in November 2019.