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 KellyHillicon Valley: FCC moves against Huawei, ZTE | Dem groups ask Google to reconsider ads policy | Bill introduced to increase data access during probes Dems call out Oracle for lack of diversity on its board Overnight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul MORE (D-Ill.) and Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdGroup of veterans call on lawmakers to support impeachment, 'put country over politics' CNN's Bianna Golodryga: 'Rumblings' from Democrats on censuring Trump instead of impeachment Republicans preview impeachment defense strategy 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 JordanTop Republican requests House hearing with DOJ inspector general Trump, first lady take part in National Christmas Tree lighting The Hill's Morning Report - Dem impeachment report highlights phone records 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 CummingsTrump request for Ukrainian 'favor' tops notable quote list Impeachment can't wait Adam Schiff's star rises with impeachment hearings 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 WarnerTikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Watchdog report finds FBI not motivated by political bias in Trump probe Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat MORE (D-Va.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Group of veterans call on lawmakers to support impeachment, 'put country over politics' Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump MORE (R-Colo.), Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanObstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills Key House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills Senators sound alarm on dangers of ransomware attacks after briefing MORE (D-N.H.), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesBullock drops White House bid, won't run for Senate Senate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown Perry replacement moves closer to confirmation despite questions on Ukraine MORE (R-Mont.), Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoDemocrats challenge South Carolina law requiring voters to disclose Social Security numbers Bicameral group of Democrats introduces bill to protect immigrant laborers House and Senate Dems implore McConnell to sign DACA legislation to protect 'Dreamers' MORE (D-Nev.) and Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsSenate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days Senate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown Hillicon Valley: Facebook launches 'News Tab' | Senate passes bill to take on 'deepfakes' | Schumer outlines vision for electric cars 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.