House Passes Three Telecom Bills to Fortify Cyber Defenses and Educate Public
The House has taken some steps to safeguard the nation’s telecommunications networks and boost cybersecurity awareness by passing three bipartisan bills that ask the National Telecommunications and Information Network (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to dive deeper into cyber protections.
All three bills have eyes on the future:
- The Understanding Cybersecurity of Mobile Networks Act, sponsored by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), requires the NTIA to examine the cybersecurity of mobile service networks and vulnerability to cyber attacks. The measure, which was first introduced in the House in April, 2021, was met with near unanimous approval.
- A second passed bill, the American Cybersecurity Literacy Act introduced in June, 2021, would require the NTIA to develop and conduct a cybersecurity literacy campaign to educate U.S. individuals about common cybersecurity risks and best practices. It also garnered close to a unanimous vote. Kinzinger, Eshoo, Marc Veasey (D-TX), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) are the bill’s sponsors. A companion law, backed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD), was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee last week.
- The Future Networks Act, also approved in a landslide vote by the House, would require the FCC to establish a task force to investigate future uses of sixth generation (6G) wireless technology. It is sponsored by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, along with Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Lucy McBath (D-GA).
All three bills were approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this year prior to the floor vote.
Keep in mind that there are likely no sighs of relief awaiting any of these bills in the Senate. Each still has to navigate the landmine for cybersecurity legislation that has been the upper chamber, even in this perilous cybersecurity climate where digital safety is uncertain.
On the bright side, however, the more 5G build outs fill in the nation’s mobile networks, the more the telecom landscape favors MSSPs. Many U.S. telecom companies have MSSP business units and should any of the measures make its way into law it could create more room for security specialists to help government agencies identify equipment vulnerable to cyber attackers.
“Today the House came together to pass three critical bipartisan bills that aim to strengthen our telecommunications networks for a safer, more secure wireless future,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Doyle said in jointly touted their passage. “Together, these bills will promote the secure, thoughtful deployment of our next generation 6G networks, arm Americans with the information and tools they need to protect themselves from cyber attacks, and improve wireless network security in the face of growing cybersecurity attacks on our critical infrastructure.”
All three bills notwithstanding, legislation is but a part of the nation’s impetus to tighten its mobile network security and advance telecom technology. A recent study by the Cyberspace Solarium Commission contended that the country controlling 5G wireless telecommunications infrastructure will dominate the next 20 years of technological innovation, economic growth and prosperity.