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Friday, April 9th, 2021

Bipartisan Cyber Diplomacy Act introduced in House

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A bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to ensure that the U.S. strengthens partnerships with international allies to combat cyberattacks in a unified approach.

The Cyber Diplomacy Act of 2021 (H.R. 1251), sponsored by Michael McCaul (R-TX), would also advocate for the State Department to promote democratic ideals in the global cyberspace via the Bureau of International Cyberspace Policy.

“The United States must lead the way in creating a free and secure internet global space to stop authoritarian regimes, like those in Russia and China, from censoring the truth. The State Department must have the necessary resources and abilities to push back against any malign activities from our adversaries. This is a bipartisan bill because promoting freedom and democratic ideals isn’t a Republican issue or a Democrat issue – it’s an American issue,” McCaul, House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican, said.

The bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), chair of the House Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems Chairman Jim Langevin (D-RI), along with Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and Bill Keating (D-MA).

“The Cyberspace Solarium Commission made clear that we need a whole-of-government approach that prioritizes diplomacy to strengthen our cybersecurity and confront the wide array of threats we face,” Langevin, a member of the Solarium Commission, said. “Establishing a Bureau of International Cyberspace Policy at the State Department will help shape and strengthen cyber norms and bolster the United States’ leadership on the global stage. I’m pleased to join my colleagues to advance needed cyber policy that will help build the layered cyber deterrence that will keep Americans and our systems secure.”

Meeks said this bill would help the State Department be better prepared to advance America’s international interests in cyber policy.

“Freedom of speech and information on the internet are both essential in promoting democracy and human rights around the world. Unfortunately, these tools are under assault by the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, and other malign actors. As such, the United States must act,” Kinzinger said. “I’m proud to re-introduce this legislation with Ranking Member McCaul, Chairman Meeks, and my other colleagues who are leaders on these issues. Only through a coordinated effort will we push back against Russian misinformation and China’s attempts to stifle democracy in Hong Kong.”