Cybersecurity

House passes bipartisan bills to strengthen network security, cyber literacy

The U.S. Capitol is seen from the East Front Plaza on Thursday, November 18, 2021 as the House waits for a score from the Congressional Budget Office on the Build Back Better Act.
Greg Nash

The House on Wednesday passed three bipartisan bills intended to shore up network security and increase cyber literacy across the nation, following a difficult year fraught with several significant cybersecurity attacks. 

The Understanding Cybersecurity of Mobile Networks Act, sponsored by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), was approved by a vote of 404-19. The bill would require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to examine and report back on cybersecurity vulnerabilities in mobile networks.

The second bill passed Wednesday, the American Cybersecurity Literacy Act, was approved by a 408-17 vote, and would require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to develop and roll out a cybersecurity literacy program to educate Americans about cyber risks. 

The bill is bipartisan and primarily sponsored by Kinzinger.

The Senate Commerce Committee approved a companion version of the bill earlier this week, which is sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Thune (R-S.D.). 

The FUTURE Networks Act was also approved by the House Wednesday, by a vote of 394-27, which would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a sixth generation (6G) wireless technology taskforce to examine potential vulnerabilities and advantages in the future use of 6G technology. 

It is sponsored by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Penn.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, along with Reps. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) and Lucy McBath (D-Ga.).

All three bills were approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this year prior to the floor vote. Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Doyle jointly applauded the bills’ passage Wednesday.

“Today the House came together to pass three critical bipartisan bills that aim to strengthen our telecommunications networks for a safer, more secure wireless future,” Pallone and Doyle said in a joint statement. “Together, these bills will promote the secure, thoughtful deployment of our next generation 6G networks, arm Americans with the information and tools they need to protect themselves from cyberattacks, and improve wireless network security in the face of growing cybersecurity attacks on our critical infrastructure.”

‘We commend the hard, bipartisan work that went into these bills and look forward to the Senate taking action soon,” they added.

The bills were passed as Congress continues to focus on approving cybersecurity-related legislation after a year that saw high-profile ransomware attacks on groups including Colonial Pipeline and JBS USA, and other major incidents like the Russian-linked SolarWinds hack. 

Tags Adam Kinzinger Amy Klobuchar Anna Eshoo Bill Johnson cyberattacks Frank Pallone House Energy and Commerce Committee John Thune Literacy Lucy McBath Mike Doyle network security

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