The Justice Department is officially coming out in support of the RESTRICT Act. The bipartisan proposal would allow the federal government to regulate and ban foreign technology that is deemed a national security risk.
This bill applies to all companies that pose a national security risk including Huawei, ZTE and Russia’s Kaspersky Lab. Lately, the hot topic has been TikTok, and the Chinese Communist Party’s ability to use it to collect American’s data.
“So instead of playing ‘Whac-A-Mole’ on Huawei one day, ZTE the next, Kaspersky, TikTok, we need a more comprehensive approach to evaluating and mitigating these threats,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said.
The Justice Department gave multiple reasons for its support, including the legislation being broad enough to enable regulation across entire categories of high-risk technology.
“The RESTRICT Act would also ensure that the Department of Justice has the authorities we need to go after adversaries and enablers who violate the law and put our people and businesses at risk,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement.
Monaco added that the department looks forward to working with members on both sides of the aisle to get it signed into law.
It’s rare but not unheard of for the Justice Department to officially endorse legislation. Last March, the department endorsed a bipartisan bill led by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., to ensure Big Tech companies like Google, Apple and Amazon, can’t discriminate in favor of their own products and services.
For example, if someone searched “I need a cloud based storage service” on Google, Google cannot prioritize its service in its search results over rivals.
As for the RESTRICT Act, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo also endorsed it, and said she wants to help get it through Congress.