The House Committee on Energy and Commerce unanimously approved six cybersecurity and supply chain-related bills during a markup session on July 21. The committee’s vote sends these bills to the House floor for further consideration.

“These bills build on the communication and tech subcommittee’s recent work to secure our communication networks and supply chain from untrusted vendors. These bills are also critical to advance U.S. leadership and to improve the federal government’s response to potential future threats,” said Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio.

The six approved bills are:

H.R. 2685 Understanding Cybersecurity of Mobile Networks Act

The Understanding Cybersecurity of Mobile Networks Act would direct the assistant secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information to submit to Congress a report examining the cybersecurity of mobile service networks, and the vulnerability of those networks and mobile devices to cyberattacks and surveillance conducted by adversaries.

“We need a comprehensive study on what vulnerability exists and what has been addressed so policymakers have the whole picture,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif.

The report would include assessing how mobile providers address cybersecurity vulnerabilities; the degree to which consumers consider cybersecurity when considering the purchase of mobile service; and the degree to which providers implemented cybersecurity best practices and risk assessment frameworks.

H.R. 4055 American Cybersecurity Literacy Act

The American Cybersecurity Literacy Act would establish a cybersecurity literacy campaign. The Commerce Department assistant secretary for Communications and Information would develop and conduct a cybersecurity literacy campaign to increase the knowledge and awareness of the American people of best practices to reduce cybersecurity risks.

“Over the last few months, we have seen rampant cyber attacks across the nation that have disrupted business, increased consumer cost, and threatened our national security. As industry continues to ramp up its protection, the general public is also at risk and should be prepared as well,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. “This bill would task the Communications and Information Administration to push a cybersecurity campaign to increase knowledge and risk of cyber-attacks among the American public.”

H.R. 4046 NTIA Policy and Cybersecurity Coordination Act

The NTIA Policy and Cybersecurity Coordination Act would amend the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NITA) Organization Act to establish the Office of Policy Development and Cybersecurity within the organization.

This office would be tasked to develop and advocate for policies that promote innovation, competition, consumer access, digital inclusion, workforce development, and economic growth in the communications, media, and technology markets. It would also aid smaller and rural communication companies to keep up with Federal policy regarding privacy and cybersecurity.

“Congress recognized that small and rural companies need additional help with Federal policy developments that larger companies can accomplish with a group of lawyers. This will ensure that small and rural companies will not be left behind,” said Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C.

H.R. 4045 FUTURE Networks Act

The Future Uses of Technology Upholding Reliable and Enhanced Networks Act (FUTURE Networks Act) would direct the Federal Communications Commission to establish a task force known as the “6G Task Force.” The task force will submit a report on industry-led standards for 6G wireless communications, limitations identified, and how to work with agencies across the Federal, State, local governments, and Tribal governments to leverage 6G capabilities.

Members of the task force will comprise representatives from trusted companies in the communications industry, representatives from trusted public interest organizations or academic institutions, and representatives from the Federal, State, local, and Tribal government sectors.

H.R. 4028 Information and Communication Technology Strategy Act

The Information and Communication Technology Strategy Act would require the secretary of Commerce to report on and develop a whole-of-government strategy concerning the economic competitiveness of the information and communication technology supply chain

“I think this bill is critically important to ensure that we are thinking about our supply chain security and do what we can to aid a robust marketplace for com equipment,” said Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif.

H.R. 4067 Communications Security Advisory Act of 2021

The Communications Security Advisory Act would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reestablish the Communications Security, Reliability formally, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) to make recommendations on increasing the security, reliability, and interoperability of communications networks.

“Currently, it is up to the FCC chair whether CSRIC would be reestablished. CSRIC has been so successful that we want to make sure that it continues to do its job. This bill makes no changes to CSRIC’s function except to permanently establish it to continue doing its work without any interruptions,” said Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.