Tuesday , October 20 2020

Here's a rundown of all the security-related bills working their way through this year's U.S. Congress, plus some hot security topics likely to be debated.

2020 outlook for cybersecurity legislation



As the partisan divide in Washington widens during this 116th Congress, the prospects of enacting any meaningful legislation that bolsters the nation’s cybersecurity seem, at first blush, dim. Of the nearly 300 pieces of legislation that touch on some aspect of cybersecurity, or more urgently, election security, introduced since the current Congress began last year, only nine have become law. Most were budget-related measures that appropriated or increased funds for federal agencies to spend on cybersecurity or election security as part of the fiscal 2020 spending deal passed in December.

Now, roughly halfway through the current Congress, it’s time to take stock and review where things stand in the legislative arena. A number of bills have been passed by either the House or the Senate and are awaiting further action. They are worth watching in 2020 because they have progressed the farthest and arguably might come closest to gaining some momentum toward passage.

Notable pieces of digital security-related bills that the House has passed include:

Some of the prominent pieces of information security-related legislation passed by the Senate and awaiting House action include:

A number of bills have been introduced or moved in either House or Senate committees and are likely candidates for further movement once Congress rolls up its sleeves after recess ends. Among them are:

Aside from the formal measures introduced in or passed by the House or Senate, a number of hot topic cybersecurity issues are emerging as key subject areas for new legislation or at least high-level Congressional debate during 2020.

Another development worth watching as Congress returns from recess is the emergence of a federal strategy for defending the U.S. government against cyberattacks that lawmakers say could be finalized as early as March. The strategy flows from a commission created after the passage of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act and a draft version of the commission’s report is already circulating among lawmakers. The report will focus on protecting federal assets from cyberattacks but could prove useful to state and local government, too.

More on critical infrastructure:

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