Tuesday, May 3, 2016

HR 5026 Introduced – Cybercrime Strategy

Last month Rep. Ross (R,FL) introduced HR 5026, a bill that would direct the President to develop and submit to Congress a comprehensive strategy to combat cybercrime. The bill is very short and broadly written.

Strategy Requirements

Rather than defining ‘cybercrime’ the bill would require the President to provide the definition to be used in the strategy. It would also require the President to {§1}:

• Designate which Federal agency should take the lead role in investigating and combating cybercrime;
• Review of the current strategy on combating cybercrime of each Federal agency engaged in combating;
• Review the efforts to combat cybercrime of the governments of other countries, as determined appropriate by the President;
• Outline a plan for how the Federal Government should work with State governments and with the governments of other countries to combat cybercrime; and
• Describe the threats that cybercrime poses to individuals, businesses, and governments, and recommendations for protecting against such threats.

Moving Forward

Ross is not a member of the House Judiciary Committee, the committee assigned to consider this bill. This means that it will be extremely difficult for him to have this bill considered by that committee. The most likely way for this bill to move forward would be for it to be offered as an amendment to the Commerce, Justice and Science spending bill when it makes its way to the floor for consideration since Ross is not a member of the Appropriations Committee. This bill would not likely face any serious opposition if it were offered on the floor of the House either as a standalone bill or as an amendment to a spending bill.


It is extremely unusual for a Republican Congressman to ask this President to establish a strategy for such a potentially important crime fighting program without providing more input to that strategy. I was especially surprised to see the lack of definition of ‘cybercrime’ in the bill and a list of findings that outlined what Congress saw as the extent of the problem.

Allowing the President to set this strategy at this point in the closing days of the Administration makes me think that this bill was never intended to actually be considered and sent to the President. I am hard pressed, however, to offer an explanation of what purpose the bill actually serves, unless Ross is using this simply as a political tool to paint the Administration (and by association his opponent in this year’s congressional election) as soft on cybercrime. I would have expected, however, for this bill to have some snappy title that could be used in press releases or campaign literature if that were to be the case.

In any case, I do not expect that we will hear any more about this bill outside of possible local campaign discussions.

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