Lawmakers Reintroduce Bill to Curtail Foreign Adversary Telecom Influence

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The legislation would require the FCC to publish a list of entities with FCC authorizations and close ties to foreign adversaries.

A bipartisan group of House Representatives reintroduced legislation aimed at addressing foreign influence on the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure. 

The Foreign Adversary Communications Transparency, or FACT, Act was reintroduced last week by members of the House Armed Services Committee—Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis. 

The FACT Act would require the Federal Communications Commission to publish a list of companies that hold FCC licenses or authorizations and are owned by or have sufficient ties to “foreign adversarial governments, including China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba.”

“Allowing companies owned by China and our other foreign adversaries to have access to our critical infrastructure is playing with fire, and we must have transparency over the influence they can have over the lives of American citizens,” Stefanik said. 

“It’s critical for our national security that we understand the influence that foreign governments wield over our telecommunications infrastructure,” Khanna said. “This is a common-sense bipartisan bill to help us get the facts about which companies operating here in America are owned in part by countries like China.”

The bill comes after the FCC banned the sale of equipment from Chinese telecommunications companies like Huawei and ZTE in November 2022 over national security concerns. However, the legislation seeks to add transparency to the U.S.’s telecommunications infrastructure and expand scrutiny beyond these companies.

“It is vital that we provide a full and transparent accounting of every entity with ties back into the [Chinese Communist Party]—and the governments of other authoritarian regimes—that are operating inside America’s tech and telecom markets, yet there has never been a public disclosure when it comes to those networks of relationships. This only makes it more difficult for the public and private sector alike to assess the likelihood that those connections can be leveraged to harm America’s national security interests,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said.

The bill was previously introduced in October 2022, but did not make it past committee consideration.