President Presses For Action On Cybersecurity Legislation In State Of The Union

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On January 20, 2015, President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address, during which he pressed for Congress to take action to combat cybersecurity threats.  He called on Congress to “finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information.”  The President said that failing to act will leave the nation and economy vulnerable to attack.

As we reported last week, the President announced several cybersecurity initiatives in the lead up to the State of the Union, including a cybersecurity proposal aimed at enabling information sharing, standardizing data breach reporting, and modernizing law enforcement authorities to combat cyber crime.  Letters transmitting the legislative proposals to Congress, legislative text, and section-by-section analyses may be found here.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R–CA), the new Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, responded that he welcomed the President’s recognition of the “urgent need for legislation to counter the growing menace of cyberattacks.”  But at the same time he blamed the President and the Democratic Senate for the failure of a comprehensive cybersecurity bill to pass last Congress.

Senator Tom Carper (D–DE), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said that passage of a cybersecurity bill must be one of Congress’s top priorities and announced that he was committed to working with members from both parties, the Administration, and stakeholders to get it done.

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee announced that it will hold a hearing on “The Expanding Cyber Threat” on Tuesday, January 27.  A list of witnesses scheduled to testify — which includes representatives from Symantec Corporation, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Congressional Research Service, and the Information Technology Industry — may be found here, along with a link to the webcast on Tuesday.

On the same day, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing focused on figuring out legislation to address data breaches. A list of witnesses scheduled to testify — which includes representatives from Tech America (CompTIA), Acxiom Corporation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, and Cumberland School of Law — may be found here, along with additional background information for this hearing.

Reporter, Lauren M. Donoghue, Washington, DC, +1 202 626 8999, ldonoghue@kslaw.com.

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