Following some fireworks related to the Congressional investigations into President Donald J. Trump, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform approved the bipartisan Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2019 (H.R. 1168), authored by Congresswoman Robin Kelly.
"As technology changes and revolutionizes the delivery of services, the government is purchasing and using more and more Internet-connected devices. We have an obligation to prevent these devices from becoming a backdoor for hackers and tools for cybercriminals," said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. "This bipartisan measure, painstakingly crafted over nearly two years, is a major step toward improving our nation's cybersecurity. I want to thank my colleagues, especially Senators Warner and Gardner and Congressman Hurd, for working with me on crafting the best possible legislation to solve close this dangerous cyber vulnerability."
The legislation would establish baseline standards for government-purchased Internet-connected devices.
"Every single minute of every single day, hackers are trying to steal Americans - information. From credit card numbers, to social security numbers, our personal information is targeted by bad actors around the globe. Internet of Things devices will improve and enhance nearly every aspect of our society, economy and everyday lives - and are growing rapidly. We must act now to ensure these devices are built with security in mind, not as an afterthought," said Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX). "I am excited to see this important, bipartisan cybersecurity bill move forward in the legislative process and look forward to seeing it on the House floor."
The legislation, introduced in March, enjoyed bipartisan, bicameral and industry support. A companion bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO).
Congresswoman Kelly has spoken extensively on this issue, including at SXSW, and the need for the U.S. government to enact policies that protect our national security and the sensitive information of American families.
Congresswoman Kelly's efforts to enhance U.S. cybersecurity by addressing vulnerabilities created by IoT devices began in August 2017. She released a discussion draft and received more than 18 months of advocate, industry and stakeholder feedback. In December 2018, she introduced a first draft of this legislation. With the start of the 116th Congress, she worked with partners to develop the legislation that was introduced in March 2019. Additional amendments were made through the committee process to reflect feedback and concerns raised by agencies responsible for implementing these standards.
"No party, no person and no chamber has a monopoly on good ideas. I hope that the process used to advance this measure will show how Congress should work. We should be working together, we should be listening to experts and we should be looking to solve big problems," added Congresswoman Kelly. "When we work together, we get better policies and legislation."
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