Koch bill on cellular networks passes Senate


A bill authored by state District 44 Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, that would protect cellular networks from potential access by Chinese intelligence recently unanimously passed the Senate.

Senate Bill 197 would prohibit state agencies and local units of government from purchasing telecommunications equipment from companies designated as posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain by the Federal Communications Commission.

Currently two companies, both based in China, Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp., are designated as a threat to national security, according to a news release from Koch’s office.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, these companies, specifically Huawei, have backdoor technology designed to covertly and secretly access mobile phone networks. By having this access, these foreign communications companies are able to obtain sensitive and personal information without network providers and users knowing.

The bill would align the state with the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which prohibits federal funds to be used on equipment or services from these companies.

“These companies pose a security threat to our communications networks,” Koch said. “A recent report found a majority of Huawei firmware had at least one potential backdoor and that each Huawei device had an average of 102 known vulnerabilities.”

This legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

For information about the bill, visit iga.in.gov/legislative/2020/bills/senate/197.

District 44 includes all or parts of Jackson, Bartholomew, Brown, Lawrence and Monroe counties.

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