Panel votes to tighten federal website security

US Capitol

A bill to tighten controls on the way federal websites capture user information won approval from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on March 13.

The measure would require any federal website that collects personally identifiable information from users -- including name, date of birth, Social Security number, or financial information -- must be certified as safe and secure by the agency CIO before going live.

Agency and contractor personnel with access to personal information would have to sign a non-disclosure agreement specifically covering personal data. Additionally, government agencies would be required to take "reasonable efforts" to secure multiple domain registrations to avoid confusing site visitors. For example, the bill envisions a site such as also being available at and

"When entering their personal information on a federal website, Americans should have the peace of mind that it will remain private, safe, and secure from hackers," said the bill's sponsor, Michigan Republican Rep. Kerry Bentivolio.

The bill also includes an amendment from Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) that would require agencies to notify individuals whose information may have been disclosed in a security breach within 72 hours of the incident, and to report breaches to a federal cybersecurity center.

The committee also approved a bill to end the requirement that the Government Printing Office physically print the Federal Register, while easing constraints on how agencies submit notices to the GPO for inclusion in the Federal Register.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group