The House Energy and Commerce Committee has passed eight bipartisan telecom-centric cybersecurity bills intended to help protect small telecom providers, small businesses and the public from cyberattacks, hackers and malware.
The bills, passed by voice vote, include:
- The Understanding Cybersecurity of Mobile Networks Act, sponsored by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) would require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to examine the cybersecurity of mobile service networks and vulnerability to cyber attacks.
- The Secure Equipment Act of 2021, introduced by Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Eshoo, would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt rules to prohibit sales of devices from Chinese state-backed or controlled suppliers such as Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision and Dahua in the U.S.
- The Information and Communication Technology Strategy Act, sponsored by Reps. Billy Long (R-MO), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Buddy Carter (R-GA) and Jerry McNerney (D-CA), would direct the Commerce Department to submit to Congress a report on the economic competitiveness of trusted vendors in the telecom supply chain.
- The Open RAN Outreach Act, introduced by Reps. Colin Allred (D-TX), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Richard Hudson (R-NC), directs the NTIA to provide outreach and technical assistance to small telecom providers on Open Radio Access Networks (Open-RAN) and other open network architectures.
- The Future Uses of Technology Upholding Reliable and Enhanced Networks Act, backed by Reps. Mike Doyle (D-PA), Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Lucy McBath (D-GA), would require the FCC to create a 6G Task Force.
- The NTIA Policy and Cybersecurity Coordination Act, sponsored by Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Susan Wild (D-PA) and John Curtis (R-UT), would rename the existing NTIA Office of Policy Analysis and Development to the Office of Policy Development and Cybersecurity.
- The American Cybersecurity Literacy Act, introduced by Kinzinger, Eshoo, Marc Veasey (D-TX), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), would require NTIA to develop and conduct a cybersecurity literacy campaign to educate U.S. individuals about common cybersecurity risks and best practices.
- The Communications Security Advisory Act of 2021, sponsored by Reps. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Tim Walberg (R-MI), would codify an existing FCC advisory council, the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council.
In a nod to bipartisanship, Energy and Commerce Committee chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) said the panel “came together to pass urgently needed legislation that will promote more secure networks and supply chains, bringing us one step closer to a safer and more secure wireless future.” The bills will educate people, smaller providers and small businesses on how to “best to protect their telecommunications networks and supply chains, all while improving the coordination and resources necessary to support them,” he said.
The slate of telecom bills follows a security directive issued by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that requires owners and operators of critical infrastructure pipelines to implement specific mitigations to protect against ransomware attacks.