Koch: Bill to Protect National Security Passes Senate

(STATEHOUSE) — A bill authored by State Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) that would protect cellular networks from potential access by Chinese intelligence recently passed the Senate unanimously.

State Senator Eric Koch

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 (FCC).

Currently, two companies, both based in China, Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corporation, are designated as a threat to national security. 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.

SB 197 would align Indiana with the federal government’s 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,” Sen. 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 more information on Senate Bill 197, visit https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2020/bills/senate/197.

Sen. Koch, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, serves Senate District 44, which includes all or parts of Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson, Lawrence and Monroe counties.