Sending Office: Honorable Jack Bergman
HOLD FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS ACCOUNTABLE FOR CYBERATTACKS
COSPONSOR H.R 4189
Foreign-sponsored hacking activity against American citizens should not be tolerated. We have seen an increase in these cyberattacks, and Americans across the country have dealt first-hand with the consequences. Within the past few years even, we have seen
Russian-backed cyberattacks against everyone from American military spouses to the DNC, North Korean hacks and blackmail against Sony Pictures, and China’s cyberattack on the Office of Personnel Management, which involved the theft of the personal data of
over 22 million people. This threat must be dealt with effectively.
There is currently no legal recourse in the United States for citizens or entities that have been the victim of foreign-backed cyberattack. Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), foreign governments have been ruled multiple times by U.S. courts
to be immune from legal action on the part of American plaintiffs. FSIA, however, was signed in to law long before the Internet existed, and it does not account for the advances in technology we see today. Consequently, a legal loophole in U.S. law is inadvertently
providing hostile powers with blanket immunity for their hacking activity.
To that end, we have introduced H.R. 4189, the Homeland and Cyber Threat (HACT) Act, a bill to amend the Foreign Sovereignty Immunities Act (FSIA) to hold foreign governments and their agents responsible for these activities that harm our citizens. This
legislation would provide much-needed legal protection to victims of foreign-sponsored cyberattacks by carving out a cyberattack exception to the blanket immunity provided to foreign governments and their agents under current FSIA law. Specifically, H.R. 4189
would remove the immunity of foreign states—including foreign officials, employees, or agents—with regard to money damages sought by a national of the United States for personal injury, harm to reputation, or damage to or loss of property resulting from cyberattacks.
Foreign governments have been hacking into private data systems to influence politics and policy in the United States for a long time, and it is time to update our laws to reflect changes in technology and cybersecurity. Without an update of FSIA, foreign
governments such as Russia, North Korea, Iran, and China can continue to have a free hand in intimidating and silencing Americans, invading their privacy and disrupting our democracy.
We ask for your support of this important legislation.
Jack Bergman Andy Kim
Member of Congress Member of Congress
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