House panel advances bill to create cybersecurity standards for government IT devices

House panel advances bill to create cybersecurity standards for government IT devices
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The House Oversight and Reform Committee approved bipartisan legislation on Wednesday that would establish baseline cybersecurity standards for government-purchased internet-connected devices.

The approval, done through a voice vote, advances the The Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2019 toward a vote on the House floor.

The legislation is aimed at reducing the risks to government information technology from cyberattacks, and directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish recommendations for the federal government on “the appropriate use and management” of the devices by no later than March 31, 2020.

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"Internet of things" devices include those with internet connections and those that are able to send and receive data, such as laptops and mobile phones.

The bill is spearheaded by Reps. Robin KellyRobin Lynne KellyIllinois governor endorses Biden one day before primary Durbin endorses Biden: He 'can start to heal the wounds of this divided nation' Biden seeks to capitalize on Super Tuesday surprise MORE (D-Ill.) and Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdGarth Brooks accepts Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song Texas kicks off critical battle for House control Gun control group plans to spend million in Texas in 2020 MORE (R-Texas), and has almost two dozen other bipartisan co-sponsors.

Kelly described the bill as a “major step towards improving our nation’s cybersecurity,” adding that “we have an obligation to prevent these devices from becoming a backdoor for hackers and tools for cyber criminals.”

Hurd highlighted in a statement the severity of threat from malicious cyber criminals trying to steal data, saying that “we must act now to ensure these devices are built with security in mind, not as an afterthought.”

While the bill was approved, House Oversight and Reform Committee ranking member Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanTrump, privacy hawks upend surveillance brawl Top GOP post on Oversight draws stiff competition McConnell, top GOP senators throw support behind surveillance deal as deadline looms MORE (R-Ohio) expressed concern during the committee meeting that the legislation might be “redundant” due to existing federal cybersecurity standards, and that it could create “de facto regulations for the entire [internet of things] sector” beyond just the federal government.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMaryland postpones primary over coronavirus fears Maryland governor: 'Simply not enough supplies' on hand to tackle coronavirus Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges MORE (D-Md.), however, expressed “strong” support for the legislation.

There is a Senate version of the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act, which is sponsored by Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Coronavirus deal includes funds for mail-in voting | Twitter pulled into fight over virus disinformation | State AGs target price gouging | Apple to donate 10M masks Senator sounds alarm on cyber threats to internet connectivity during coronavirus crisis Senator calls for cybersecurity review at health agencies after hacking incident MORE (D-Va.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerRomney says he tested negative for coronavirus, will remain in quarantine Senate GOP super PAC books more than million in fall ads The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Markets expected to plunge amid partisan squabbling MORE (R-Colo.), Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanWho should be the Democratic vice presidential candidate? Overnight Health Care: Trump triggers emergency powers in coronavirus fight | McConnell sets first stimulus vote for Sunday | Five sticking points for stimulus talks | Treasury delays tax filing deadline | Dems push insurers to cover virus tests Democrats press insurers to cover all coronavirus testing MORE (D-N.H.), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesHow much damage? The true cost of the Senate's coronavirus relief bill McConnell says T bill is 'emergency relief' and not a 'stimulus' The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden moves to unify party before general election MORE (R-Mont.), Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoFive Latinas who could be Biden's running mate Biden should choose a Latina as his running mate Kennedy said DSCC prevented him from helping Democrats flip GOP seats MORE (D-Nev.) and Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsSenate GOP expects vote on third coronavirus package next week Overnight Defense: Pentagon policy chief resigns at Trump's request | Trump wishes official 'well in his future endeavors' | Armed Services chair warns against Africa drawdown after trip GOP chairman after Africa trip: US military drawdown would have 'real and lasting negative consequences' MORE (R-S.D.).

The Senate version of the bill has not seen action since being introduced in March, though a spokesperson for Warner told The Hill on Wednesday that there have been “encouraging conversations” with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee about the bill being marked up “in the coming weeks.”

Kelly, in committee discussions on Wednesday, noted that the legislation has support from industry groups including Verizon, Tenable, Symantec, BSA: The Software Alliance and wireless trade group CTIA.