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U.S. House passes legislation designed to counter Chinese cybersecurity threats

u.s. house of representatives
Source: Uifa’atali Amata’a Washington D.C. office press release

Washington, DC — U.S. House passed the Countering Untrusted Telecommunications Abroad Act, H.R. 1149 this week. The bill passed with an emphatic vote of 410-8, and was sent to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata co-led the legislation with sponsor Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pennsylvania). Amata the original cosponsor with Rep. Wild upon introduction of the bill Feb. 21.

The congresswoman explained the bill is to ensure investigation and response to security vulnerabilities caused by Chinese telecommunications companies in U.S. embassies overseas and among U.S. defense allies. The bill establishes clear reporting and other requirements to counter vulnerabilities.

 “This strong bipartisan support is encouraging, making clear that Congress is united in taking an important stand for national security,” said Congresswoman Amata. “Thank you especially to my friend Representative Wild for her leadership on this effort.”

Specifically, the Act takes critical steps to secure telecommunications infrastructure by requiring the State Department to report on U.S. collective defense allies using untrusted telecommunication equipment or services in their 5G networks, along with a report on telecommunications vulnerabilities in U.S. embassies overseas. It also directs the Secretary of State to identify key telecommunications infrastructure projects designed to promote U.S. national security.

 “This year, Congress is placing a stronger emphasis on awareness and countering of China’s strategic activities, including the Indo-Pacific region,” Amata said.