June 27, 2022 – A bipartisan group of senators, including Marco RubioR-FL., and Ron WydenD-OR., on Thursday introduced a bill that would limit the sale or transfer of Americans’ sensitive data to high-risk foreign countries.
The US Data Protection from Foreign Surveillance Act directs the Secretary of Commerce, in conjunction with other key agencies, to identify categories of personal data that could harm national security if exported. It directs the Secretary of Commerce to “compile a list of low-risk countries for which exports will not be restricted and to require licenses for bulk exports of identified and sensitive categories of personal data to other countries.”
In a press release, Rubio said, “It makes good sense to prevent our adversaries from obtaining the highly sensitive personal information of millions of Americans. We cannot trust private companies to protect Americans’ private data, especially given how many of them do business in China. Our bill would address this massive national security threat and protect American privacy. »
Experts have warned that data from apps owned by Chinese companies like TikTok, one of the world’s most popular video-sharing websites, could be used by the communist government for nefarious purposes.
“Our bipartisan legislation establishes common-sense safeguards to prevent bulk exports of private and sensitive information from going to high-risk foreign countries and to protect the safety of Americans from foreign criminals and spies,” added Wyden. “This will allow the United States to build a coalition of trusted allies where information can be shared without fear of misuse by authoritarian actors.”
Exports to high-risk countries will be presumed denied and the risk status of countries will be determined based on the adequacy of national privacy and export control laws, circumstances in which the foreign government can compel a person in that country to disclose personal data, and whether that government has been hostile to the United States.
The Chamber of Commerce challenges certain aspects of the BEAD program
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce highlighted in a press release last week what it called flaws in the $42.5 billion broadband equity, access, and deployment program that will be distributed to states and territories for broadband deployment projects.
The Chamber of Commerce commended the National Telecommunications and Information Administration for focusing the BEAD program on serving unserved areas first, having strong subrecipient qualifications, enabling effective engagement stakeholders and meet the costs of broadband authorisation.
“Despite the many positive aspects, the Notice of Funding Opportunity contains many problematic provisions and mandates, which will impede the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s goal of connecting all Americans while running counter to the bipartisan approach to the law,” the statement said.
The first concern is that the NOFO promotes government-owned networks, despite the IIJA’s neutrality towards the type of provider. The NTIA imposes “onerous requirements on qualifying entities and pressures states to waive laws that impose restrictions on public sector broadband providers.”
The NOFO, according to the statement, “picks the technology winners and losers” by prioritizing fiber over other technologies like satellite and fixed wireless.
Additionally, it urges states to adopt net neutrality rules contrary to IIJA requirements, ensuring that subrecipients do not “impose unfair or unreasonable network management practices.”
The Chamber of Commerce further added that NOFO requires eligible entities to create a middle-class affordability program that is “ill-defined” and “opens the door to additional state-level intervention in the market.” broadband”.
NOFO also promotes pro-union policies that “have nothing to do with connecting all Americans and everything to do with advancing unrelated union priorities.”
Wisconsin awards $125 million in rural internet service grants
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission on Thursday awarded $125 million in broadband expansion grants to 71 projects that will reach more than 87,000 underserved and unserved locations in 45 counties.
According to the press release, the grants will leverage $185 million in matching funds from recipients. The PSC received 194 requests in March 2022 requesting a total of $495 million.
Since 2019, Wisconsin has committed more than $289 million for broadband expansion, including $105 million in federal funding.
“Over the past three years, we have worked hard to invest state and federal funds in projects that will provide more than 387,000 homes and businesses with reliable, high-quality Internet access. These grants will allow students, workers, business owners, families and communities to access the Internet in all areas of our state,” said the Governor of Wisconsin. Tony Evers in the release.
“We have made tremendous strides over the past three years to provide people with access to affordable, high-quality Internet service,” said the PSC Chairman. Rebecca Cameron Valcq. “We will continue to make the necessary investments to ensure that everyone in our state has access to affordable broadband.”