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House Declares Cybersecurity Week with Introduction of Four Cybersecurity Bills

The U.S. House of Representatives is introducting this week four pieces of legislation for votes.  Below is a summary of each bill provided by House Speaker John Boehner:

Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 3523), introduced by Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI), will help private sector job creators defend themselves from attacks from countries like China and Russia by allowing the government to provide the intelligence information needed to protect their networks and their customers’ privacy.  The bill also provides positive authority to private-sector entities to defend their own networks and to those of their customers, and to share cyber threat information with others in the private sector, as well as with the federal government on a purely voluntary basis.

Federal Information Security Amendments (H.R. 4257), introduced by Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), will enhance the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) by improving the framework for securing information technology of federal government systems.  It also establishes a mechanism for stronger oversight of information technology systems by focusing on “automated and continuous monitoring” of cybersecurity threats and regular “threat assessments and reaffirms the role of OMB with respect to FISMA, recognizing that the budgetary leverage of the Executive Office of the President is necessary to ensuring effective security over information technology systems.

Cybersecurity Enhancement Act (H.R. 2096), introduced by Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX), will improve coordination of research and related activities conducted across the federal agencies to better address evolving cyber threats.  The bill strengthens the efforts of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the areas of cybersecurity technical standards and cybersecurity awareness, education, and talent development.

Advancing America’s Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Act (H.R. 3834), introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX), reauthorizes the NITRD program, which represents the federal government’s central R&D investment portfolio for unclassified networking, computing, software, cybersecurity, and related information technology and involves 15 member agencies.  In the area of cybersecurity, the NITRD program focuses on R&D to detect, prevent, resist, respond to, and recover from actions that compromise or threaten to compromise the availability, integrity, or confidentiality of computer-and network-based systems.

These bills, collectively, promise to impact the various roles of higher education in significant ways, including the academic mission to educate the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, research and discovery of future solutions to our cybersecurity challenges, and the operations of campus computing networks that while not considered "critical infrastructure" are a key asset and important part of the overall Internet economy.  EDUCAUSE will continue to monitor and report on these bills as they move through the House and will track similar actions in the Senate.

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