Increasing regulatory requirements may not always lead to enhanced cybersecurity

Cybersecurity threats pose challenges to ships and telecommunications networks, prompting the U.S. and EU to push for regulations to protect against adversarial entities. However, certain legislative gaps and legal battles hinder these efforts, leading policymakers to impose heavier regulations on domestic entities.

Section 214 designation for U.S. broadband providers and the stringent burden of proof for EU shipbuilders can give the impression of national security concerns being addressed. However, these policies may not effectively safeguard people, businesses, or assets and could divert resources from legitimate security measures.

The challenges in securing telecom networks in the U.S. and EU, such as court battles with malicious providers, showcase the need for updated regulations fit for today’s dynamic communications landscape. The rigorous processes like FCC’s Covered List alignment and proposals to extend regulations under the guise of national security may hinder technological advancements and network security efforts.

Similarly, in the shipbuilding sector, the EU faces security challenges from unfair practices of foreign entities. While anti-dumping measures are in place, proving violations and enforcing regulations remains a struggle. Policymakers need to find a balance in regulatory actions to truly enhance national security without obstructing innovation and economic growth.

Recommendations for Enhanced Security

To strengthen national security in telecommunications and shipbuilding, policymakers should focus on targeted measures rather than blanket regulations. Improving communication safety through effective restrictions on threat actors and equipment, along with promoting fair competition in shipbuilding, can lead to a more secure environment.

It is crucial for both the U.S. and EU to adapt regulations to address current threats while fostering innovation and competitiveness in these key sectors. By aligning regulatory actions with national security goals, policymakers can create a more resilient and secure framework for the future.

Authors: Liselotte Odgaard is a Professor at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies. Roslyn Layton is a Senior Fellow at the National Security Institute at George Mason University.

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