Schatz, Tillis, Cornyn, Blumenthal Introduce New Legislation To Help Fight Cybercrime, Keep Americans Safe
Bipartisan Bill Improves Data Collection On Cybercrime, Gives Law Enforcement More Tools To Understand, Stop Online Crimes
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today introduced new legislation to fight cybercrime and help keep Americans safe from online scams. The bipartisan Better Cybercrime Metrics Act will improve data collection on cybercrimes, giving law enforcement and policy makers more tools to understand the size and scope of cybercrime in the United States.
“To protect people and fight online crimes, including hacks and scams, we need to understand how often, when, and where it’s happening. Our bipartisan bill will equip us with the data we need to go after criminals and provide more support to victims of cybercrime,” said Senator Schatz.
“Cybercrimes have steadily increased in recent years, putting private information, energy dependability, and our national security at risk,” said Senator Tillis. “It’s time for Congress to act on these growing threats by giving law enforcement and policymakers the tools needed to improve data collection and respond to cyber-attacks. I am proud to introduce this commonsense, bipartisan legislation to protect every American from the threat of cybercrimes.”
“Texas ranks third in the nation for victims of cybercrime, and many more incidents have gone unreported,” said Senator Cornyn. “This legislation would help us quantify how many cybercrimes are committed and the efficacy of law enforcement’s response to them.”
“Cybercriminals prey on the most vulnerable of our society, stealing billions of dollars every year through elaborate scams and frauds. What we do not measure, we cannot fix. By improving reporting on cybercrime, this bill is the first step toward fighting back against a massive scourge afflicting consumers, communities, and our economy,” said Senator Blumenthal.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans are targets of cybercrime incidents that cost billions of dollars. Whether done through online scams and fraud, corporate data breaches, or ransomware attacks, the cost of cybercrime has been increasing annually, from $3.5 billion in 2019 to $4.2 billion in 2020, and impacts an estimated 300,000 to 700,000 cybercrime victims each year.
Unfortunately, these numbers are likely low, as there are no comprehensive metrics on the scale and impact of cybercrime in the United States, or on law enforcement efforts against them. Only 10 to 12 percent of all estimated cybercrime victims report cybercrime incidents in the United States, while other estimates have put that number much higher.
The Better Cybercrime Metrics Act will give law enforcement a clearer picture of online crimes in the United States by requiring the FBI to integrate cybercrime incidents into its current reporting streams to better understand all the types of crime that Americans face. As cybercriminals continue to target vulnerable populations, this data will help lawmakers make an informed case for policy changes to curtail the cybercrime wave, keep Americans safe, and bring these criminals to justice.
The Better Cybercrime Metrics Act will:
- Require the FBI to report metrics on cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime categories, just as they do for other types of property crime;
- Encourage local and federal law enforcement agencies to report incidents of cybercrime in their jurisdictions to the FBI;
- Authorize a study at the National Academies of Science to create a taxonomy for cybercrime incidents in consultation with federal, state, local, and tribal stakeholders, criminologists, and business leaders that would inform the FBI’s reporting of cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime; and
- Require the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the Department of Justice and the Census Bureau to include questions related to cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime as part of its annual National Crime Victimization Survey.
“Increased and improved cybercrime data collection is a necessity,” said Robert Burda, Interim CEO and Chief Strategy Officer of Cybercrime Support Network (CSN). "By better understanding the size and scope of cybercrime in the United States, our law enforcement officers, policy makers, and CSN will be able to more effectively serve individuals and small businesses impacted by cybercrime.”
“Cybercrime is pervasive and pernicious, having a negative impact on individuals and communities throughout the United States. The first step in combating the hard problem of cybercrime, like all hard problems, is having a clear, concise, and consistent understanding of cybercrime among all those impacted and those who will face the problem,” said Glen Gainer, President of the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). “NW3C appreciates the efforts of Congresswoman Spanberger and Senator Schatz in introducing this bill.”
“It is critical that cybercrime is counted in a systematic and complete manner. Victims of cybercrime, particularly vulnerable victims such as minors, stalking victims, and the elderly, deserve to have those crimes counted and the public deserves to know the nature and extent of cybercrime in our society,” said Eileen M. Decker, Lecturer at USC Gould Law School, a former United States Attorney, and Police Commissioner. “Comprehensive cybercrime data will help ensure robust training and increased resources to law enforcement to investigate cybercrimes, and improved public awareness about the pervasiveness of the cybercrime problem. This bill is an important step to achieving these goals.”
The full text of the bill is available here.