Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Supports Bill Combating Cyber-attacks

Oct 9, 2015
Press Release
China, Russia and Rogue Hackers Threaten Privacy of all Americans

Social Security Numbers, Mental Health Records, Financial Files all at Risk

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, praised legislation approved by the House this week to protect the privacy and personal information of all Americans against the growing sophistication of hackers. U.S. House passage of this critical bill comes three months after suspected Chinese hackers stole the personal files, including Social Security numbers, of 21 million current and former federal employees.

The bipartisan bill requires the federal government to develop a comprehensive plan for safeguarding sensitive government and personal information. The measure passed the U.S. House unanimously and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“As our country becomes increasingly reliant on modern technology, we open ourselves up to the danger of cyberattacks, which pose a direct threat to the privacy and security of everyday American citizens,” Buchanan said. “This bipartisan, common-sense measure will ensure that Department of Homeland Security is doing all it can to combat cyberattacks.” 

Cyberattacks can disrupt the daily lives of millions of Americans and the essential services our economy relies upon every day. They can also expose sensitive personal information to the world. Earlier this year it was discovered that suspected Chinese hackers stole the Social Security numbers, mental health records, and financial history records of over 21 million current and former government employees, one of the largest hacks in U.S. government history.

In 2006, the personal data of 26.5 million active duty and retired military personnel was stolen from a Veterans’ Affairs Department laptop.

The Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Strategy Act requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a new strategy for detecting, responding to, and preventing cyber-attacks. This measure also streamlines DHS efforts to protect sensitive information and increase transparency to the American public.

Last month, DHS's Inspector General faulted the agency for its failure to have a comprehensive cyber strategic implementation plan in place and urged the agency to take action. 

Buchanan last week announced he has introduced legislation to limit the use of Social Security numbers on the most common tax form used by the Internal Revenue Service, the W-2. His bill is pending in the Ways and Means Committee.