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 KellyLawmakers set for tearful goodbye to John Lewis Intelligence community rolls out guidelines for ethical use of artificial intelligence Black Caucus unveils next steps to combat racism MORE (D-Ill.) and Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdDemocrats go big on diversity with new House recruits Texas Democrats plan 7-figure ad buy to turn state blue Republicans face worsening outlook in battle for House 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 JordanWorld's most trafficked mammal gives Trump new way to hit China on COVID-19 The 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence Tucker Carlson calls Fauci a 'fraud' after tense hearing 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 CummingsBill Maher delivers mock eulogy for Trump The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden comes to Washington to honor John Lewis Lawmakers set for tearful goodbye to John Lewis 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: Facebook removed over 22 million posts for hate speech in second quarter | Republicans introduce bill to defend universities against hackers targeting COVID-19 research | Facebook's Sandberg backs Harris as VP pick Republicans set sights on FBI chief as Russia probe investigations ramp up The Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election MORE (D-Va.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerMcConnell warns control of Senate 'could go either way' in November Senate Democrats ask Trump to withdraw controversial public lands nominee The Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement MORE (R-Colo.), Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Hillicon Valley: Feds warn hackers targeting critical infrastructure | Twitter exploring subscription service | Bill would give DHS cyber agency subpoena power Senate-passed defense spending bill includes clause giving DHS cyber agency subpoena power MORE (D-N.H.), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesSenate Democrats ask Trump to withdraw controversial public lands nominee Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Lincoln Project expands GOP target list, winning Trump ire MORE (R-Mont.), Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoOcasio-Cortez to speak at Democratic convention Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs major conservation bill into law | Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official | Trump Jr. expresses opposition to Pebble Mine project MORE (D-Nev.) and Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Lincoln Project expands GOP target list, winning Trump ire On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS 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.