Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Review - S 2139 Introduced - International Cybercrime Prevention

Last month Sen Whitehouse (D,RI) introduced S 2139, the International Cybercrime Prevention Act. The bill would make several changes to 18 USC to provide additional legal tools to combat international cybercrime. It includes adding a new 18 USC 1030A, Aggravated Damage to a Critical Infrastructure Computer. A nearly identical bill (S 3288) was introduced by Sen Graham in the 115th Congress with no action taken.

Whitehouse is a subcommittee chair in the Senate Judiciary Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration and his three cosponsors {Sen Graham (R,SC), Sen Tillis (R,NC), Sen Blumenthal (D,CT)} are also members of the Committee. This should mean that there is adequate influence to see this bill considered in Committee. It is hard to predict what sort of opposition this bill would draw. I would expect that this would draw some opposition from folks that oppose the current wording of §1030 as it expands rather than restricts the types of offenses under that section.

Graham introduced similar bills in the 115th, and 114th Congresses. Neither saw any action taken in the Judiciary Committee. It would be easy to assume that similar inaction would be expected in this Congress, but the leadership has changed and Whitehouse introducing the bill could mean a significant political change in the prospects for the bill. We will just have to wait and see.

The title of this bill is very misleading. There is nothing here that would target international cyber crime and the only prevention activity is the prosecution of individuals used as a deterrent, a fairly ineffective prevention activity.

For a more detailed look at the provisions of the bill and what they could mean for crimes against industrial control systems, see my article at CFSN Detailed Analysis - https://patrickcoyle.substack.com/p/s-2139-introduced - subscription required.

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