NEWSFLASH: Rep. Swalwell Raises National Security Red Flags On Congressional Anti-Tech Bills
Representative Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), member of the House Committees on Intelligence and Homeland Security, recently raised serious questions about how congressional anti-tech bills would harm U.S. national security.
— The bills could give foreign adversaries like Russia and China access to American user data.
— Proposed legislation could hamper leading tech companies’ ability to partner with the U.S. government on cybersecurity defense and to remove harmful content from tech platforms.
The bills could give foreign adversaries like Russia and China access to American user data.
Rep. Swalwell expressed concern that the bills would “give China a backdoor” into American data. “That is primarily my concern — to not give China a backdoor to U.S. persons’ data without any protection.”
The bills would potentially allow Chinese apps and services to send U.S. user data to China. “You would allow the Chinese to flood these stores with almost no regulation, with apps that could pipe U.S. consumer information — potentially national security information — back to China.”
The proposed legislation is “antithetical” to the goal of protecting American innovation and competition. “Legislation that allows thousands of foreign companies – many from countries at odds with American values – to fully integrate and access domestic platforms is antithetical to this work and only contributes to national security fears. Congress should not hamper the ability of platforms to counter these risks.”
Antitrust reforms would have “unintended cybersecurity consequences.” “Unfortunately, the antitrust bills being considered in both the House and Senate include antitrust reforms that would have unintended cybersecurity consequences. These issues were recently reinforced by numerous national security experts — such as James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, Leon Panetta, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, among others — in an open letter which highlighted the consequences of requiring non-discriminatory access for all businesses on domestic digital platforms. These concerns were especially noteworthy given the extraordinary threat environment from Russian cyber actors who have been crippled by President Biden’s successful sanctions on the Kremlin.”
Proposed legislation could hamper leading tech companies’ ability to partner with the U.S. government on cybersecurity defense and to remove harmful content from tech platforms.
The legislation targets U.S. technology companies that play an important role in American cyber defense. “[I]t is essential that U.S. technology companies, the very same ones currently being targeted by antitrust legislation, may continue to forge partnerships with the U.S. government to fortify integrated cyber defenses across products and services. Part of that collaboration would mean immediately blocking malicious actors and disrupting sophisticated security threats.”
The AICOA and similar legislation would “blunt” platforms that are partnering with U.S. intelligence to protect America. “While the AICOA does contain some modest defenses, each would require an unwieldy amount of evidence for each and every action the platform makes to protect our national security. This is especially concerning where decisions must be immediately made to limit widespread damages. Antitrust bills like the AICOA and its progeny would therefore blunt platforms that are working closely with intelligence communities to strengthen our homeland.”
The AICOA “misses the mark” and would make it “impossible” for companies to regulate harmful content. “Unfortunately, the AICOA misses that mark. The AICOA would require the largest platforms to integrate with different platforms’ operating systems, hardware or software. It would also prohibit platforms from discriminating against any domestic or foreign business in the application of its terms of service. While this may make sense in theory, in practice it would make it difficult or impossible to de-platform and remove any business that traffics in objectively harmful content.”
Congress needs to seriously think through the unintended consequences of these bills. “Instead of pushing these bills through Congress, we should take a step back and think through the unintended consequences.”