Internet of Things

House bill looks to secure IoT ecosystem

Shutterstock image (by a-image): connected devices around the world. 

Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), the ranking member of the IT Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is looking to help improve the security and oversight of the emerging internet-of-things ecosystem.

A discussion draft of Kelly's Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act 2017 would tighten standards on connected devices purchased by the U.S. government.

The bill tracks closely with a Senate bill of the same name introduced by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.). That bill focuses on eliminating the problem of hard-coded, unchangeable passwords on connected devices and looks for vendors to make updates available wirelessly online.

One difference is that Kelly's bill provides for an Emerging Technologies Advisory Board "to be led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and include members from the Department of Homeland Security, the National Technology and Information Administration, the General Services Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and representatives from private industry, nonprofits and academia."

"Technology and security best practices change quickly, and we must be able to adapt just as quickly to address and counter these threats," Kelly told FCW. "The board will be tasked with reviewing and providing updated guidances and waiving required guidance, in part or in whole, based on changing conditions."

With the proliferation of connected devices, the urgency for reform has only increased, especially when it comes to government procurement, Kelly said at an Oct. 3 hearing on cybersecurity.

"Compromised devices can become access points for malicious actors to gain entry to the federal government’s networks, she said. Her bill would "bake security into the procurement process," she said.

Additionally, the bill lays the groundwork for new disclosure requirements for vendors supplying the government with connected devices. Kelly said her goal is not to overregulate the acquisition process, noting that "sector-specific regulators will devise more precise rules to address the unique risks to each sector."

About the Author

Ben Berliner is a former editorial fellow at FCW. He is a 2017 graduate of Kenyon College, and has interned at the Center for Responsive Politics and at Sunlight Foundation.

He can be contacted at [email protected].

Click here for previous articles by Berliner.


Featured

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    OPM nominee plans focus on telework, IT, retirement

    Kiran Ahuja, a veteran of the Office of Personnel Management, told lawmakers that she thinks that the lack of consistent leadership in the top position at OPM has taken a toll on the ability of the agency to complete longer term IT modernization projects.

  • Defense
    Soldiers from the Old Guard test the second iteration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) capability set during an exercise at Fort Belvoir, VA in Fall 2019. Photo by Courtney Bacon

    IVAS and the future of defense acquisition

    The Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System has been in the works for years, but the potentially multibillion deal could mark a paradigm shift in how the Defense Department buys and leverages technology.

Stay Connected