New Bill Would Create White House Critical Tech Office

A bipartisan bill has been introduced that would attempt to stop the transfer of telecom and other technologies to countries that pose a national security risk.

It would create an Office of Critical Technologies & Security in the White House, which would be charged with "coordinating across agencies and developing a long-term, whole-of-government strategy to protect against state-sponsored technology (IP) theft and risks to critical supply chains." 

The director of the office would report directly to the President.

The office would facilitate coordination with federal and state regulators of telecom and tech, including the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

It would also try to educate the public about the risk that relying on foreign products in the supply chain pose a national security risk. 

Co-sponsoring the bill are Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), co-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Related: Rubio Praises Move to Ban ZTE, Huawei Tech from U.S. Bases

Both senators have criticized the Trump Administration for lifting the ban on U.S. exports of tech to Chinese telecom ZTE, which has ties to the Chinese government and has been identified as a potential security risk by the heads of U.S. intelligence agencies.

“China continues to conduct a coordinated assault on U.S. intellectual property, U.S. businesses, and our government networks and information with the full backing of the Chinese Communist Party,” said Sen. Rubio. "We must continue to do everything possible to prevent foreign theft of our technology, and interference in our networks and critical infrastructure."

We need a whole-of-government technology strategy to protect U.S. competitiveness in emerging and dual-use technologies and address the Chinese threat by combating technology transfer from the United States,” said Sen. Warner.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.