Saturday, March 11, 2017

HR 1335 Introduced – Communications Cybersecurity

Last week Rep. Clarke (D,NY) introduced HR 1335, the Cybersecurity Responsibility Act of 2017. The bill would require the FCC to issue rules providing cybersecurity requirements for communications networks.

Communications Security

Section 2 of the bill would require the FCC to “issue rules to secure communications networks through managing, assessing, and prioritizing cyber risks and actions to reduce such risks” {§2(a)}. It also requires that those rules would establish that communications networks would be considered critical infrastructure and that information submitted to the FCC and DHS about such networks would be protected as Critical Infrastructure Information.

The key term in this bill is ‘communication network’. The bill provides a broadly inclusive definition: “a network for the provision of wireline or mobile telephone service, Internet access service, radio or television broad casting, cable service, direct broadcast satellite service, or any other communications service” {§2(c)}.

Moving Forward

Clarke is a fairly senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to which the bill was assigned for consideration. This means that she may have the influence necessary to have the bill be considered in Committee.

Since the bill, however, provides relatively broad regulatory powers to the FCC there will be a great deal of push back from industry. This means that there would be substantial Republican opposition to this bill. It is unlikely that there would be much support for moving this bill forward.


The ‘any other communications service’ provisions of the communication network definition could provide FCC authority to regulate the communications networks associated with physically distributed control systems like SCADA networks. Initially, it would be unlikely that the FCC would exercise that sort of authority; developing regulations for more traditional communications networks would take up a great deal of time for the FCC.

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