The revelation that China has established an electronic eavesdropping facility in Cuba – only 100 miles from Florida – has Americans and Floridians rightly outraged. However, in the 21st century, China and other dangerous bad actors no longer need a physical base to access the personal information of Americans.
Earlier this month, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) re-introduced a bill that would create costly new regulations on the credit card market and make the financial data of Americans vulnerable to bad actors across the world, including China.
The so-called Credit Card Competition Act (CCCA) would require payment networks that do not have the same investment in security, fraud prevention, and liability protections as other more established networks, allowing foreign-owned networks to process and handle the data for American consumers’ financial transactions. This would even include the Chinese state-sponsored global payments network called UnionPay, which could now potentially have access to the financial data of millions of Americans.
Floridians are proud that we have two senators who are known nationally for their work to preserve America’s security. With Senator Marco Rubio serving as Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Senator Rick Scott on the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, our senators understand how our enemies are working every single day to exploit any potential vulnerabilities.
That’s why they are both leading on shoring up any of America’s weaknesses before China and other enemies can exploit them. Earlier this year, Senator Scott introduced five bills to better protect American families and investors by combating Chinese influence in the financial sector. Both of our senators have also been fighting to combat the growing threat posed by TikTok – the widely popular social media platform operated by a Chinese company that makes the app’s data available to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Senator Rubio has proposed legislation to ban TikTok in the United States. He also sponsored a bill with Senator Scott to ban TikTok on government devices that passed unanimously because of the clear risk that the app may be used to spy on Americans.
Our senators have been proactively countering these threats, but now we need their leadership to stop their colleagues from passing a self-inflicted wound that would make their work much harder.
The CCCA has the potential to create TikTok-like vulnerabilities for Americans’ financial data.
If you are worried about our enemies accessing public data, imagine the danger that may lie ahead if they could reach our most sensitive and private financial information.
Since the CCCA failed to pass last year, its authors have been on a rebranding campaign. They claim that producing a list of foreign networks is sufficient to protect against the national security concerns.
This assertion would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous. It also fails to account for American financial services companies that have partnered with UnionPay. We’ve known for years that TikTok’s data can go right into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. Given that it remains one of the most popular social media apps in the United States, how well has this information worked to deter use of this platform among the public and protect our security?
So why does the CCCA continue to be pushed despite its obvious flaws? Though the legislation would be devastating for consumers who would lose access to credit and more than $68 billion in cash back and rewards programs, some of the nation’s largest corporations like Walmart and Disney stand to make huge profits from the bill.
Instead of allowing these corporations to undermine our national security, we should shore up this weakness by banning payment networks that work with China. It is unfortunate that some of America’s largest corporations have sided against our nation’s core interests. We are lucky to have great leaders like Senators Rubio and Scott who can be counted on to put America first.