Kennedy introduces bill to hold foreign cyber criminals accountable

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Homeland and Cyber Threat Act to give more legal options for Americans who have fallen victim to foreign cyber-attacks to pursue justice. 

“Americans who fall prey to our adversaries’ cyber-attacks have no legal recourse under current law. Our citizens are powerless to act against foreign governments that damage their property or reputation. The Homeland and Cyber Threat Act would empower Americans to seek justice from foreign actors who have harmed them,” said Kennedy.

The U.S. has experienced a dramatic increase in the frequency of cyber-attacks over the last decade. Foreign adversaries are developing increasingly sophisticated methods to attack Americans online, and these cyber-attacks have become a significant threat to American citizens and national security.

Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976, Americans can sue foreign governments in U.S. federal courts in certain cases, but not for committing cyber-attacks.

The Homeland and Cyber Threat Act would allow American victims of foreign cyber-attacks to sue foreign governments and seek monetary compensation for personal injury, harm to their reputation or property damage or loss that these attacks cause. Under this legislation, victims could sue officials, employees or agents working on behalf of a foreign government.

The bill allows U.S. citizens to sue foreign countries that engage in the following behavior:

  • Accessing U.S. computers or electronics without authorization;
  • Damaging a U.S. computer by sending unauthorized information;
  • Using or sharing information (without consent) obtained by the conduct described above; and
  • Providing material support for any of the above activities.

Text of the Homeland and Cyber Threat Act is available here.

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