Reps. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., have introduced new legislation that aims to counter the influence of foreign adversaries on the United States telecommunications infrastructure – and beyond the current sanctions on China-based equipment makers including Huawei and ZTE.

The Foreign Adversary Communications Transparency (FACT) Act would provide critical telecommunications transparency by requiring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to publish a list of companies that hold FCC authorizations, licenses, or other grants of authority with over 10 percent or more ownership by foreign adversarial governments – including China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea.

“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,” Rep. Stefanik said in a press release.

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“The Foreign Adversary Communications Transparency Act will strengthen our national security by providing badly-needed transparency and pave the way for further action against listed entities in the near future,” Rep. Gallagher said.

Under the FACT Act, the FCC would have 120 days after enactment of the legislation to publish the list of entities owned or influenced by foreign adversaries who hold FCC authorizations.

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr commented that the legislation “would strengthen America’s national security,” and he encouraged “Congress to move quickly in passing this commonsense legislation.”

“It is vital that we provide a full and transparent accounting of every entity with ties back [to] governments of authoritarian regimes … operating inside America’s tech and telecom markets,” Carr said. “Publishing a list of all entities with FCC authorizations that have covered relationships with authoritarian regimes would aid the FCC in carrying out its mission of advancing America’s national security interest.

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