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Commerce Department proposes rule on blocking threatening telecommunications deals
Commerce Department proposes rule on blocking threatening telecommunications deals

The US Department of Commerce proposed a new rule on Tuesday that will allow the Secretary of Commerce to decide on a case-by-case basis what information and communications technology and services transactions will be prohibited under Executive Order 13873.

President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13873 in May after finding that foreign adversaries were exploiting information and communications technology and services to commit “malicious cyber-enabled actions, including economic and industrial espionage against the United States and its people.” The executive order prohibited the acquisition, importation, transfer, installation, dealing in, or use of any information and communications technology or service subject to a foreign adversary that poses an “undue risk of sabotage” or an “unacceptable risk” to US national security. The executive order gives the Secretary of Commerce the authority to prohibit such transactions.

Under the rule proposed Tuesday, the Secretary of Commerce will use assessments developed by the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence to determine whether transactions pose a risk to national security. He will provide notice to the parties involved in a transaction if he has made the preliminary determination to prohibit that transaction. The notified parties will have an opportunity to submit a position, and the Secretary will then provide an unclassified, written final determination that explains how the decision is consistent with the executive order. A summary of the final determination will be made available publicly.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has stated: “These actions will safeguard the Information and Communications Technology Supply Chain. These rules demonstrate our commitment to securing the digital economy, while also delivering on President Trump’s commitment to our digital infrastructure.”

The Department of Commerce has requested public comment on the proposed rule-making.

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