Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

House of Representatives passes SAFETY Act amendment

By Brian E Finch

The US House of Representatives took a major positive step towards increasing the nation’s cyber-security posture when, on a voice vote, it passed HR 3696: the National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act.

The NCCIP bill, co-sponsored by House Homeland Security chairman Mike McCaul, ranking member Bennie G Thompson, subcommittee chair Patrick Meehan and subcommittee ranking member Yvette Clarke, clarifies a number of roles and responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and it also strengthens key public/private partnerships.

One of the most interesting and potentially helpful elements of the NCCIP bill is in Title II, Section 202. There, the House approved additional language to be inserted into the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Technologies Act of 2002 (the SAFETY Act). The language would add the term ‘qualifying cyber incident’ to the SAFETY Act, thereby making it perfectly clear that cyber attacks unconnected to ‘acts of terrorism’ may trigger — at the discretion of the secretary of homeland security — the liability protections offered by the SAFETY Act…

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