WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today unanimously passed U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger’s legislation that would build a national strategy to protect 5G telecommunications systems in the United States and among U.S. allies.
The Spanberger-led Secure 5G and Beyond Act 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 ways to spur research and development by U.S. companies in a way that maintains reliable internet access.
In January 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 413 to 3 to pass the House version of Spanberger’s Secure 5G and Beyond Act. Following today’s passage in the U.S. Senate, the bill now returns for a vote in the U.S. House before heading to President Trump’s desk. The bipartisan legislation is led in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).
“Without a strategic, long-term gameplan to defend our networks from foreign-based 5G threats, we are putting the privacy of American consumers and companies at risk. Especially as we see the potential for close coordination between the Chinese military, Chinese intelligence services, and Chinese tech firms like Huawei and ZTE, we must be prepared for the national security challenges of the next generation,” said Spanberger. “My Secure 5G and Beyond Act puts our country on a path toward preventing our telecom infrastructure from being compromised, and I’m proud to see my bipartisan legislation pass in the Senate today. I’d like to thank Senator Cornyn for his commitment to strengthening the cybersecurity of American families and businesses and for his cooperation on this critical legislation. By laying the foundation for a nationwide, publicly-available 5G strategy, we are one step closer to mitigating the serious dangers posed by entities like Huawei and ZTE.”
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).
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.
Click here to read the full bill text.
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.
Last month, 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.