Washington, DC – TechAmerica joined with other industry groups in a letter to Congressional leadership today opposing a provision in the recently passed continuing resolution that prohibits the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation from using federal dollars to acquire an information technology system if the system is produced, manufactured or assembled by one or more entities that are owned, directed or subsidized by the government of China regardless of the size or scope of the product.
In the letter the group writes “We understand and share Congress’ concern about the security of the U.S. government’s IT infrastructure” but goes on to detail the challenges presented with the inaction of the provision.
“The IT assessment requirements in Section 516, however, set a troubling and counterproductive precedent that could have significant international repercussions and put U.S.-based global IT companies at a competitive disadvantage in global markets. Fundamentally, product security is a function of how a product is made, used, and maintained, not by whom or where it is made. Geographic-based restrictions run the risk of creating a false sense of security when it comes to advancing our national cybersecurity interests. At a time when greater global cooperation and collaboration is essential to improve cybersecurity, geographic-based restrictions in any form risk undermining the advancement of global best practices and standards on cybersecurity.”
The letter also outlines the lack of Congressional examination “Section 516 was not subject to committee hearings or markup, and was included in must-pass funding legislation that went through an expedited legislative process with limited opportunities for amendment.”
The letter closes with “The global IT sector is committed to working with Congress and the Administration to consider constructive approaches that avoid geographic-based restrictions and focus instead on the appropriate and effective methods to meet our cybersecurity challenges. In the near term, we strongly encourage a meaningful bilateral dialogue between the United States and China to address cybersecurity concerns in a manner consistent with best security and trade practices.”
The full text of the letter can be found here: http://www.techamerica.org/Docs/Multi-assn_letter_CR_language_section_516_%28FINAL_April_4_2013%29.pdf