Hatch, Carper introduce Federal Computer Security Act

Two prominent American lawmakers, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Tom Carper (D-DE), introduced the Federal Computer Security Act of 2015 last week.

Hatch, the senior Republican in the U.S. Senate and longest-serving member in the history of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Carper, Ranking Member on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, teamed up to present the legislation, which aims to improve cyber security within the federal government.

Several recent cyber attacks on government agencies and organizations have exposed substantial vulnerabilities within the federal government’s database infrastructure. These attacks include the IRS data breach, in which hackers stole the detailed tax-return information on over 100,000 U.S. citizens, and the recent attack on the Office of Personnel Management, in which 21.5 million federal-worker personnel records were stolen by hackers.

Essentially, the Federal Computer Security Act of 2015 would require inspectors general to submit reports on the security practices and software used by federal agencies to safeguard classified and personally identifiable information. It would also direct the Government Accountability Office to provide a report, including a financial analysis, outlining agency use of security software and devices, and pointing out any impediments.

“The Federal Computer Security Act of 2015 will shine light on whether our federal agencies are using the most up-to-date security practices and software to safeguard our nation’s most sensitive information,” Hatch said. “Given the recent federal data breaches, this bill is critical to getting our computer networks in order and to promoting good cyber hygiene across the federal government.”

“The troubling reality is that cyber attacks and intrusions continue to occur at an increasing rate, and federal agencies need to be better prepared,” Carper said. “This legislation builds on our ongoing efforts to bolster the federal government’s cyber defenses by adding another important layer of oversight to make sure agencies are doing all that they can to protect their critical networks and to ensure that sensitive information is properly secured. I look forward to working with Senator Hatch, our congressional colleagues and the administration to address the very serious cyber threats facing our nation, and to help restore confidence in our government’s ability to keep personal, sensitive information safe and secure.”