U.S. technology is playing a critical role in protecting Americans and online businesses from malicious cyberattacks this holiday season. For many, the holidays are a time to connect with family and friends and take some well-deserved vacation, but cybercriminals don’t take the holiday season off!
With more and more Americans increasing their online shopping habits, the importance of increasing our cybersecurity protections is critical. In order to protect our data, financial institutions and personal information, Congress must look to make smart policy solutions that strengthen our U.S.-based technology firms that are leading on innovations that protect these networks and individuals.
But, instead of focusing on this important effort, many elected officials are pursuing anti-innovation legislation that risks U.S. leadership by putting restrictions on American companies, while leaving out companies from foreign countries.
This means we could be giving our adversaries an advantage over our own homegrown companies.
Having served in the military, I uniquely understand the importance of ensuring we’re relying on trustworthy technologies to secure information and communications. Imagine the U.S. military having to rely on technologies from China? Just think of the exposure and damage this could cause to our national security and defense.
Earlier this year, former defense, intelligence, homeland security and cyber officials talked about this. They wrote an open letter to Congress expressing their concerns of proposed anti-innovation legislation and calling for a national security review. They state that “cybersecurity threats from authoritarian regimes are also on the rise” and that proposed legislation “would provide an open door for foreign adversaries to gain access to the software and hardware of American technology companies.”
Recognizing that the United States is up against extraordinary threats both economically and in the form of cyberattacks from adversaries like China and Russia, we must support our domestic private sector as companies accelerate their efforts to innovate. U.S. technology companies are the drivers for research and development investments in critical technologies. Accounting for two-thirds of U.S. investments and last year, top U.S. tech companies invested $30 billion more than the Pentagon in research and development.
If we don’t support American companies and American innovation, we could live in a world where we may need to rely on technology developed and controlled by our adversaries, putting our data, intellectual property, military and cyber capabilities, and so much more at possible risk.
On top of these national security concerns, America’s tech platforms are also paramount to small businesses, providing no- and low-cost tools such as easy-to-find product reviews, cybersecurity protections and advertising that helps businesses reach new customers inside and outside of their immediate physical communities. In fact, a recent study estimates that ”small- and medium-sized retail businesses (‘SMB Sellers’) would lose roughly $500 billion in sales in just the first five years after the passage of the ‘Big Tech’ antitrust legislation currently being considered by Congress.” That’s a devastating blow that most small businesses can’t survive, especially on top of losses due to two years of COVID and high inflation over the past year.
In an increasingly digital world, technology is the bedrock that our national security, cybersecurity and economy rely on. Keeping American online systems and data secure is critical, and our own tech firms lead the way in this battle. I urge our elected officials to focus on leading issues such as continuing to tackle inflation and increased gas prices instead of weakening American tech innovation. If we don’t, the consequences could be severe.
Isaac Burdelson is a former U.S. Army veteran. He resides in Sandy, Utah.