Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Commemorating National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Congressional Record

This month, our Nation commemorates the tenth anniversary of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month ? a time to raise awareness about the need to ensure a safe and secure environment for all Americans in cyberspace.  

All of us have a stake in improving the Nation’s cybersecurity.  That is why I join with stakeholders in the Government, academia and the private sector in calling attention to the need to address new cyber threats.

In today’s Digital Age, we face new challenges in securing our computer networks from cyber threats and cybercrime.  Even as the Internet and other rapidly advancing technologies spur economic growth and expand opportunity, there is growing uncertainty and unease about how Americans’ sensitive personal information is collected, shared and stored.  National Cybersecurity Awareness Month provides an important reminder about the need to update our Federal laws to keep pace with this new reality.  

As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I continue to work to update our outdated Federal privacy laws.  Earlier this year, I reintroduced bipartisan legislation to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).  The bill requires that the Government obtain a search warrant ? based upon probable cause ? before gaining access to the content of our email and other electronic communications, when those communications are stored with a service provider.  This common sense legislation, which I have cosponsored with Republican Senator Mike Lee, enjoys broad support from a diverse coalition of organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Tax Reform, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the Heritage Foundation.    

I remain disappointed that a Republican Senator has objected to the unanimous consent request to pass this bipartisan bill, which overwhelmingly passed the Judiciary Committee in April.  These privacy reforms are too important to delay.  I hope that the Senate will consider and pass my bipartisan privacy bill without further delay.  

I will also continue to work to better protect Americans from the growing threats of data breaches and cybercrime.  For several years, I have sought to enact comprehensive data privacy legislation that would establish a single nationwide standard for data breach notification and also clarify and strengthen the criminal penalties for violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. These critical privacy proposals will help make all of us safer and more secure in cyberspace and I will continue to push for enactment of these privacy reforms.    

I commend the many citizens from Vermont and across the country who are holding events to recognize National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.  I look forward to working with these stakeholders and with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to help ensure that our right to privacy is protected in cyberspace.

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