President Trump signs order to protect U.S. networks from 'adversaries'


Broad wording opens door to future actions of just about any
kind.

Amidst the ongoing scuffles between the U.S. and foreign
countries over networking and infrastructure security, President
Trump has declared a “national emergency”
with an executive order
to address what’s deemed to be a
serious threat facing the country. The order’s claim is that the
“communications technology and services” being used in the U.S. are
unnecessarily vulnerable — and even being actively exploited —
due to “foreign adversaries” being involved in the network
operations.

The order aims to start fixing this problem by authorizing the
commerce secretary to block transactions involving communications
technology built by companies that are deemed to be controlled by
foreign adversaries that put the U.S. at an “unacceptable” risk or
pose any sort of threat of espionage or destruction of critical
infrastructure. The wording of the order is particularly broad, as
is often the case, to give the government a considerable amount of
leeway with what it determines to be a “foreign adversary” and what
level of threat warrants blocking the acquisitions or transactions.
The order also doesn’t target a specific type of infrastructure
technology, such as upcoming 5G networks:

The following actions are prohibited: any acquisition,
importation, transfer, installation, dealing in, or use of any
information and communications technology or service (transaction)
by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the
jurisdiction of the United States, where the transaction involves
any property in which any foreign country or a national thereof has
any interest [and] the transaction involves information and
communications technology or services designed, developed,
manufactured, or supplied, by persons owned by, controlled by, or
subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary;
and the transaction poses an undue risk of sabotage to or
subversion of the design, integrity, manufacturing, production,
distribution, installation, operation, or maintenance of
information and communications technology or services in the United
States.

At the same time, that broad wording doesn’t immediately
preclude any specific countries or companies from participating in
transactions for network or infrastructure equipment. Though
speculation is, of course, that this will most likely apply to the
likes of China as its companies continue to provide this exact type
of infrastructure that would leave any country vulnerable to attack
if a chain of trust was not maintained.

Despite lots of harsh wording,
this sort of executive order has been expected
for some time
now. And until it has been leveraged to block a specific company’s
acquisition(s) of equipment for U.S. networks, it’s hard to see how
big of an impact this will have. There is of course always the risk
of a chilling effect on such acquisitions as companies — both in
the U.S. and abroad — attempt to navigate the possibility of
having their deals blocked.

Source: FS – Android
President Trump signs order to protect U.S. networks from 'adversaries'