Rule Makes Helpful Interpretations But Needs Additional Clarification
SIA provided its comments (see download link below) on the interim final rule issued by the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council on July 14, 2020, which implements Section 889(a)(1)(B), known as “Part B.” Effective August 13, 2020, the rule prohibits agencies from contracting with entities that use covered telecommunications and video surveillance equipment and services provided by certain China-based firms, or any equipment, system, or service that uses these products.
First and foremost in its comments, SIA voiced its support for the national and economic security goals that underpin section 889’s limitations on products that could potentially present risks to sensitive information systems and the federal enterprise.
Key SIA’s responses to the interim rule are shared across multiple industry associations representing federal suppliers such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Professional Services Council. SIA, for examples, supports the applicability of Part B at the prime contractor level, the “reasonable inquiry standard” it establishes for determining whether covered equipment is being used, the need for a single authoritative listing of the subsidiaries and affiliates of the covered Chinese entities, and additional multi-agency guidance regarding compliance scenarios.
Additionally, SIA was among the commenters who requested additional clarification of what is meant by prohibited entity “use” in the statute, amidst concerns regarding the apparently broad reach to commercial sector use unrelated to federal work.
Given the significant amount of confusion within the security industry regarding the impact of Section 889 concerning video surveillance products, SIA’s advocacy on Section 889 related issues has always focused on urging greater clarity in its requirements, consistent with the law’s intent, to enable straightforward and thorough compliance by our members and their customers. We do not support the repeal or rollback of these restrictions.
Part B has been implemented under an “interim rule,” which means that it may be revised in subsequent interim rules or a final rule, based on public comments and other factors.
Questions or comments? Please contact Jake Parker, SIA senior director of government relations, at email@example.com.