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NDAA Passes Without Sec. 230 Amendments

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Architect of the Capitol)

The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has passed the Senate and without the Sec. 230 amendments that would have taken aim at social media's immunity from civil liability over third party content moderation, according to various tech groups tracking the bill.

But it does have a bill that would use at least $750 million in spectrum auction proceeds over a five-year period in grants to support supply chain innovation and multilateral security.

President Trump has threatened to veto the must-pass bill without the Sec. 230-targeted elements as he continues an effort to regulate sites like Twitter and Facebook that have raised red flags about his election fraud claims and more.

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The bill does have plenty in it that the tech industry was applauding, including "bolstering U.S. cybersecurity defenses, modernizing its technology, and enhancing U.S. leadership in innovation," said Gordon Bitko, senior VP at tech trade association ITI.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, seconded that assessment. “Our nation’s investments in research, development, and innovation have made the U.S. a global leader in science and technology,” said Wicker. “This year’s NDAA would support the advancement of next-generation technologies and generate cutting-edge breakthroughs in cybersecurity," said Wicker.

Among the bills that came out of the committee and went onto the NDAA were:

1. The CYBER LEAP Act, which directs the Secretary of Commerce "to establish challenges to achieve high-priority breakthroughs in cybersecurity."

2. S. 3717, Sec. 1084, the Spectrum IT Modernization Act, which "will require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and other federal agencies to outline a plan for modernizing the information technology infrastructure used for the management of federal spectrum;" and

3. S. 3189, USA Telecommunications (ORAN) Act, which would allocate either 5% of proceeds from FCC spectrum auctions over five years, or $750,000,000 (whichever is greater) into a Public Wireless Supply, "a new grant program through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to promote technology that enhances supply chain security and market competitiveness in wireless communications networks."