After years of attempts at similar legislation, the Obama administration has finally pushed a cyber security bill through the House. If it passes the Senate, the bill would encourage companies to share access to their networks and records with federal investigators.
The bill comes in response to increasing concerns in both public and private cyber security. Recent hacking events have shut down a major motion picture release, aided the theft of thousands of credit card numbers, and compromised the personal health records of millions of people insured by Anthem health insurance. The way we deal with cyber crime is due for a major overhaul, and many politicians feel that this bill is exactly what we need to accomplish that goal.
Lawmakers have begun to realize that cyber crime is too big of a problem to be handled by private companies alone. For example, Target has agreed to reimburse MasterCard in the amount of 19 million dollars for fraudulent charges caused by their own security breach. The potential damage to the economy, and to American taxpayers, is too great to ignore. Without a clear plan of action to address cyber crime events, companies are left vulnerable to attacks that could completely ruin their business.
In order for federal investigators to step in and solve these costly crimes, companies need the legal liability protections provided by this bill. Companies need to feel safe enough to allow investigators access to their records, which equals access to their customers’ sensitive information. The bill would set forth clear criteria for companies to follow, in order to protect customer information and make the investigative process safe for all concerned.
The House and Senate have been struggling with the cyber threat issue since 2012, but this current bill is the most progress representatives have made toward an agreement. Now that the bill has passed the House of Representatives, it will head to the Senate. If approved, President Obama would likely sign the bill into law. The bill won’t put an instant halt to cyber security crimes, but it will provide a safety net for affected companies and expand federal investigative abilities.