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 KellySenate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats House panel advances bill to create cybersecurity standards for government IT devices House panel advances bill to create cybersecurity standards for government IT devices MORE (D-Ill.) and Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Senate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats 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 JordanCummings requests interview with Census official over new allegations on citizenship question Cummings requests interview with Census official over new allegations on citizenship question House Oversight Republicans release parts of Kobach, Trump officials' testimony on census citizenship question 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 CummingsCummings requests interview with Census official over new allegations on citizenship question Cummings requests interview with Census official over new allegations on citizenship question Top Democrats question legal basis for appointing Cuccinelli as temporary immigration chief 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 WarnerFacebook's new cryptocurrency raises red flags for critics Facebook's new cryptocurrency raises red flags for critics Hillicon Valley: Senate sets hearing on Facebook's cryptocurrency plans | FTC reportedly investigating YouTube over children's privacy | GOP senator riles tech with bill targeting liability shield | FAA pushed to approve drone deliveries MORE (D-Va.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerHillicon Valley: Senate sets hearing on Facebook's cryptocurrency plans | FTC reportedly investigating YouTube over children's privacy | GOP senator riles tech with bill targeting liability shield | FAA pushed to approve drone deliveries Hillicon Valley: Senate sets hearing on Facebook's cryptocurrency plans | FTC reportedly investigating YouTube over children's privacy | GOP senator riles tech with bill targeting liability shield | FAA pushed to approve drone deliveries Senate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats MORE (R-Colo.), Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanSecond ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (D-N.H.), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesTrump throws support behind 'no brainer' measure to ban burning of American flag Trump throws support behind 'no brainer' measure to ban burning of American flag House panel advances bill to create cybersecurity standards for government IT devices MORE (R-Mont.), Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoHouse panel advances bill to create cybersecurity standards for government IT devices House panel advances bill to create cybersecurity standards for government IT devices Democrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties MORE (D-Nev.) and Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsHouse panel advances bill to create cybersecurity standards for government IT devices House panel advances bill to create cybersecurity standards for government IT devices The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa 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.