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Report: Compromised Product Security Clause in Defense Authorization Bill

cybersecurityHouse and Senate lawmakers are continuing work on the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act as some industry groups express concern over a clause on product cybersecurity and preferred contractors, Nextgov reported Monday.

Aliya Sternstein reports that lawmakers want to pass the bill by the end of the year, but the Information Technology Industry Council questions the provision against contracts that include IT components from vendors with suspected ties to foreign governments.

An initial version of the bill also indicates a preference against companies based near military facilities whose computer systems use components from suspected contractors, the report said.

“The economic impact from the exclusion of any one reasonably sized innovative commercial IT or telecommunications company under such conditions could easily have an impact in the hundreds of millions and cost countless jobs,” council officials said in a document submitted to Congress in October.

“Product security is a function of how a product is made, used and maintained, not only by whom or where it is made, or by the relationship a vendor has with any particular government.”

Sternstein writes that industry is also concerned about the potential impact on U.S.-based multinational companies, government surveillance of private communications and backlash from international markets.

Pamela Walker, IT Industry Council senior director for homeland security, told Nextgov that feedback from Congress points to a possible compromise on the clause.

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