The latest iteration of the annual defense spending bill contains a provision meant to protect the United States Military from technologies that have potentially been compromised by foreign powers, with the legislation being expected to be signed by President Donald Trump in the coming days. The final draft of the law compels any software provider to disclose whether they ever allowed foreign countries to probe the open source code of the solutions they're trying to sell to Pentagon, thus providing potential adversaries with the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of their inner workings which could be leveraged for compromising the U.S. Military in a variety of ways.
The move comes shortly after the federal government confirmed it's currently in the process of drafting a "do not buy" list of software from companies that have been found to have allowed foreign probes of their technologies. The new law already passed the House and ended up being approved by Senate on Wednesday with an 87-to-10 vote, with the only thing that's left for it to be enacted being the President's signature. Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen was largely responsible for creating the provision in question, arguing the clause is a precautionary measure meant to inhibit the ability of foreign powers to research potential tech vulnerabilities of the U.S. Military.
While Capitol Hill is now adopting a proactive approach to mitigating the cybersecurity threat certain countries pose to national security, one of its panels is currently trying to determine how to combat misinformation campaigns and other digital election meddling attempts aimed at the U.S., though without much success so far. To date, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted three companies and 25 individuals from Russia over attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, though none of the accused parties are expected to be extradited. This year's national defense bill previously also contained a provision seeking to put Chinese tech giant ZTE out of business but the clause ended up being removed as part of the latest revision of the legislation.