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Heinrich, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Tackle National Security Threats From Foreign Tech

Legislation would give Commerce Dept. authority – in conjunction with intelligence, law enforcement, financial officials – to take steps to mitigate threats from tech beholden to the Chinese Communist Party, other authoritarian regimes

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, co-led the introduction of the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act. The legislation that will comprehensively address the ongoing threat posed by technology from foreign adversaries by better empowering the U.S. Department of Commerce to review, prevent, and mitigate information communications and technology transactions that pose undue risk to our national security. The legislation has received the support of the Biden administration.
The bill is led by U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and John Thune (R-S.D.), ranking member of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Media and Broadband.
"Cybersecurity is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation. The future of conflict is moving further away from the battlefield and closer to the devices and the networks everyone increasingly depends on. We need a systemic approach to addressing potential threats posed by technology from foreign adversaries. This bill provides that approach by authorizing the Administration to review and restrict apps and services that pose a risk to Americans’ data security. I will continue to push for technology defenses that the American people want and deserve to keep our country both safe and free,” said Heinrich.
“Today, the threat that everyone is talking about is TikTok, and how it could enable surveillance by the Chinese Communist Party, or facilitate the spread of malign influence campaigns in the U.S. Before TikTok, however, it was Huawei and ZTE, which threatened our nation’s telecommunications networks. And before that, it was Russia’s Kaspersky Lab, which threatened the security of government and corporate devices,” said Warner. “We need a comprehensive, risk-based approach that proactively tackles sources of potentially dangerous technology before they gain a foothold in America, so we aren’t playing Whac-A-Mole and scrambling to catch up once they’re already ubiquitous.”
“Congress needs to stop taking a piecemeal approach when it comes to technology from adversarial nations that pose national security risks,” said Thune. “Our country needs a process in place to address these risks, which is why I’m pleased to work with Senator Warner to establish a holistic, methodical approach to address the threats posed by technology platforms – like TikTok – from foreign adversaries. This bipartisan legislation would take a necessary step to ensure consumers’ information and our communications technology infrastructure is secure.”
The RESTRICT Act establishes a risk-based process, tailored to the rapidly changing technology and threat environment, by directing the Department of Commerce to identify and mitigate foreign threats to information and communications technology products and services.
The Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act would:
  • Require the Secretary of Commerce to establish procedures to identify, deter, disrupt, prevent, prohibit, and mitigate transactions involving information and communications technology products in which any foreign adversary has any interest and poses undue or unacceptable risk to national security;
  • Prioritize evaluation of information communications and technology products used in critical infrastructure, integral to telecommunications products, or pertaining to a range of defined emerging, foundational, and disruptive technologies with serious national security implications;
  • Ensure comprehensive actions to address risks of untrusted foreign information communications and technology products by requiring the Secretary to take up consideration of concerning activity identified by other government entities;
  • Educate the public and business community about the threat by requiring the Secretary of Commerce to coordinate with the Director of National Intelligence to provide declassified information on how transactions denied or otherwise mitigated posed undue or unacceptable risk.
The legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah).