Legislative Branch Activity
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Trade Secrets Protection Act (H.R. 5233) by voice vote. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. George Holding (R-NC) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) would provide a federal mechanism for companies to use if they believe that other companies have stolen their trade secrets. Currently, trade secret theft cases can only be brought to state courts, which has been complicated in recent years given that most trade secret theft crosses state and national borders today given the increasing use of the Internet to steal trade secrets.
Similar to many of the other pieces of cybersecurity legislation currently in Congress, it is unlikely that this bill will see any further action before the end of this year. While the House has taken action on a number of cybersecurity bills, the Senate has yet to consider any legislation on the floor and has not announced any plans to do so in the lame duck session as of now. Several Senators have introduced cyber-related amendments to the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which may provide a vehicle for the Senate to consider cybersecurity legislation.
Executive Branch Activity
White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel announced last week that the Obama Administration plans to provide an update on its proposed cybersecurity incentives for private sector partners that participate in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework. The White House previously issued a list of incentives for industry in August 2013 but stakeholders have been generally disappointed that the White House has not done more to incentivize private sector companies to improve their cybersecurity. The Obama Administration has also been looking into the barriers currently in place that impede efforts to share cybersecurity information between the federal government and the private sector. The White House may also issue guidance on eliminating some of these barriers but it is still currently identifying and studying the most effective way to eliminate them.