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Proposed Cybersecurity Legislation Would Enhance Protections for the American Public

By Mark Weatherford, Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity

Last week, Deputy Secretary Lute discussed the risks we face as a result of our interconnected world and some of the ways legislation recently introduced in the Senate would make cyberspace safer and more secure.  Today I want to highlight more specifically what the proposed legislation would mean for the American public.  In the coming days I’ll also explain how the Administration’s would improve the security of the nation’s critical infrastructure and the federal government’s networks and information systems under this proposal.

The proposed legislation would protect the American people by giving law enforcement the tools they need to thwart cyber criminals by clarifying what a computer crime is, what the penalties are, and make prosecution of these crimes easier.  It includes mandatory minimum penalties for attacks on the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of computers that affect critical infrastructure.  By strengthening and clarifying existing laws, the  legislation would enable the prosecution of cyber criminals who routinely victimize individual Americans and threaten our economic, homeland and national security.

The Senate legislation would also protect the American people from fraud and theft of information by establishing a national data breach standard requiring businesses that have suffered an intrusion to notify affected individuals if the intruder had access to consumers’ personal information.  This will allow individuals to take steps right away in the event their credit card, bank account, or Social Security number is stolen.  It will also replace a patchwork of state laws and give a more complete picture of the scope of cybercrimes nationwide.

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility.  These new and evolving threats require the engagement of our entire society.  The recent proposal will provide the tools and clarity that the Department of Homeland Security, law enforcement, and the American public need to ensure cyberspace is a safe and secure environment for everyone.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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