Legislation would strengthen support of NTIA’s ongoing efforts to protect American technology infrastructure
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Shelley Moore Capito reintroduced the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Policy and Cybersecurity Coordination Act, a bipartisan bill to modernize and codify the NTIA’s work in cybersecurity. The NTIA’s Office for Policy Analysis and Development would be renamed the Office for Policy Development and Cybersecurity to better align with the agency’s 21st century mission of helping secure the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.
“American infrastructure, consumer safety, and national security are only as strong as our cybersecurity. Our agencies and departments must reflect this new reality,” said Hickenlooper, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security.
“Cyberattacks and breaches of private data ultimately hurt American consumers, and as technology and the telecommunications industry continues to advance, so do the threats from hackers and bad actors. Provisions must be in place to strengthen NTIA’s Office for Policy Analysis and Development, and protect the private information of the public they serve. I’m proud to reintroduce bipartisan legislation that takes necessary, proactive steps to develop cybersecurity guidance, identify potential vulnerabilities, and promote collaboration between the public and private sectors with the ultimate goal of protecting consumers,” Senator Capito said.
In recent years the NTIA has increasingly adapted to better reflect the rising importance of cybersecurity to our critical infrastructure and daily functions. Hickenlooper and Capito’s bill would codify, strengthen, and provide Congressional guidance to NTIA’s ongoing cybersecurity activities, as well as outline responsibilities of an Associate Administrator.
In the House, a companion bill has unanimously passed out of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Hickenlooper and Capito originally introduced the legislation in the 117th Congress.
Full text of the bill is available HERE.
The redesignated office would be led by an Associate Administrator and be responsible for:
- Developing cybersecurity policy as it relates to telecommunications, the internet, consumer software services, and public media;
- Creating guidance and support for implementing cybersecurity and privacy measures for internet and telecommunication companies;
- Promoting collaboration between security research and industry;
- Preventing and mitigating future software vulnerabilities in communications networks;
- Removing barriers for implementing, understanding, and investing in cybersecurity for communications and software providers; and
- Providing technical assistance on cybersecurity practices to small and rural communications service providers.