Commerce Department Issues Interim Rule to Secure Communications Supply Chain

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U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross issued an interim final rule to address the national security, economic security, and public health and safety concerns related to the nation’s communications supply chain. The rule identifies six foreign governments or foreign non-government persons as foreign adversaries: the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Cuba, and Venezuelan politician Nicolás Maduro.

“Aggressively securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services (ICTS) supply chain will protect American citizens and businesses from vulnerabilities that could undermine the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their personal information or sensitive data by malicious foreign adversaries and those who wish harm on the United States,” said Ross.  

On May 15, 2019, President Trump issued Executive Order 13873, which grants the Secretary of Commerce the authority to prohibit certain ICTS Transactions that have been “designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries” and that pose an undue or unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States. The interim final rule allows the Department of Commerce to develop regulations to create the processes and procedures that the Secretary of Commerce will use to identify, assess, and address certain transactions.

Thursday’s interim rule will be effective 60 days from Federal Register publication. The next administration will determine if the Commerce Department will follow-up with a final rule.

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