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Encryption Blog

Congress Passes Cybercrime Bill

Created: 23 Sep 2008 • Updated: 05 Nov 2012
Doug McLean's picture
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Congress Passes Cybercrime Bill While the executive branch of the U.S. government was consumed last week with helping the credit markets find a way out the desert, the legislative branch focused just long enough on cybercrime to pass an important bill.

The House finally passed the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act and sent it to the president for signature. The bill passed the Senate unanimously in July of last year, but had been stalled in the house behind other "legislative priorities". Though as the 110th Congress has passed fewer bills than any Congress in the years they've kept records, you kind of have to wonder just what those other priorities were.

Still, we should be thankful Congress is finally taking its responsibility to upgrade the criminal code in response to the rapidly evolving cybercrime landscape. The primary effects of the new law are to increase the number of crimes classified as felonies and to make it easier for victims to recover the costs associated with recovering from an identity loss event. The bill also extends the definition of cybercrime to include cyberextortion in which a miscreant removes malware or halts a DDoS attack in exchange for a ransom.

Now, if they'd just stay focused on this issue and pass the privacy and data breach disclosure laws to which Americans are also clearly entitled.

NOTE: President Bush signed the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act of 2008 shortly after this posting.