At a glance.
- Attorney General to lead US "Team Telecom."
- US Government restricts Google's trans-Pacific cable to a western terminus in Taiwan.
- CISA updates telework guidelines for US Federal agencies.
Attorney General Barr will lead "Team Telecom".
A national security group designed to assess and control the risks of foreign participation in the US telecommunications sector will be led by Attorney General William Barr, the Washington Examiner reports. The group is being established pursuant to the Executive Order on Establishing the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector President Trump signed this past Saturday. The Justice Department pointed out in a press release announcing the Attorney General's role that Team Telecom has existed for some years, but that the Executive Order has formalized the group and lent more transparency to its operations.
The principal members of Team Telecom will be, in addition to the Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and "the head of any other executive department or agency, or any Assistant to the President, as the President determines appropriate." A much larger set of officials will serve in an advisory capacity: the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Commerce, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the United States Trade Representative, the Director of National Intelligence, the Administrator of General Services, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and "any other Assistant to the President, as the President determines appropriate." The heads of the Departments, and executive offices will normally be represented by deputies in the daily work of Team Telecom.
The immediate concerns the newly reconstituted team will address are of course issues surrounding Chinese vendors, notably Huawei, but its mandate is by no means confined to China.
Google can activate cable from California to Taiwan, but not to Hong Kong.
The US Justice Department, backed by both Defense and Homeland Security, agreed yesterday to allow Google to proceed with plans to turn on a high-speed trans-Pacific cable running from California to Asia, but with the proviso that only the branch that terminates in Taiwan may be activated. The Wall Street Journal reports that there will be no active branch with a terminus in Hong Kong. Justice summarized the rationale for its decision as follows: “There is a significant risk that the grant of a direct cable connection between the United States and Hong Kong would seriously jeopardize the national-security and law-enforcement interests of the United States.”
CISA has updated its telework guidance for US Federal agencies
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued Trusted Internet Connections (that is, TIC [tee-eye-see]) 3.0 Telework Guidance documents. The TIC guidance is intended to support Federal agencies as they seek to comply with Office of Management and Budget direction to maximize both the opportunity for, and the security of, remote work across the Government during the pandemic emergency.
One of the agencies likely to stand in need of the guidance is NASA. BleepingComputer reports that the space agency is receiving particular social engineering attention as much of its workforce is now telecommuting.