Democrats offer cybersecurity bill for 'internet of things'

Democrats offer cybersecurity bill for 'internet of things'
© Getty Images

Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate on Tuesday introduced legislation to increase the security of internet-connected devices.

The Cyber Shield Act, sponsored by Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyThere's a lot to like about the Senate privacy bill, if it's not watered down Trump administration drops plan to face scan all travelers leaving or entering US Advocates hopeful dueling privacy bills can bridge partisan divide MORE (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuVideo of Princess Anne shrugging as Queen greets Trump goes viral Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Adam Schiff's star rises with impeachment hearings MORE (D-Calif.), would establish an “advisory committee” comprised of cyber experts from government, industry and academia to create “cyber benchmarks” for internet-connected devices, also known as Internet of Things (IOT) devices.

IOT devices, which include everything from mobile phones to baby monitors, can then be built by manufacturers to meet these security standards, and be given a “Cyber Shield” label to show consumers they meet these benchmarks.  


Markey said in a statement that “the IoT will also stand for the Internet of Threats until we put in place appropriate cybersecurity safeguards.”

“With more than 60 billion IoT devices projected to be in our pockets and homes by 2025, cybersecurity continues to pose a direct threat to economic prosperity, privacy, and our nation’s security,” Markey added. “By creating a cybersecurity certification program, the Cyber Shield Act will give consumers a seal of approval for more secure products, as well as encourage manufacturers to adopt the best cybersecurity practices so they can compete in the marketplace for safety.”

Lieu noted in a separate statement that the Cyber Shield Act is “a win-win for consumers and for businesses who prioritize the privacy and security of their customers.

“I’m a recovering Computer Science major so I recognize that advancements in technology have improved lives and our world,” Lieu added. “That said, we can’t ignore data security while we encourage technological advancement in every sector of our lives.”

The bill was previously introduced by Markey and Lieu during the last Congress but did not see action in either the House or Senate.

Multiple groups have already endorsed the legislation, including the Internet Association, Public Citizen, the Massachusetts Tech Leadership Council and software companies Rapid7 and Cybereason.

The Cyber Shield Act is not the only bill on Capitol Hill meant to address security risks posed by IoT devices.

The IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act, which has been approved by both the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees, would establish cybersecurity standards for internet-connected devices purchased by federal agencies. Neither the House nor Senate have voted on the bill.