CSG Director of Federal Affairs Andy Karellas outlines the top five issues in international policy for 2016, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), export promotion and economic development, global cybersecurity, attracting foreign investment, and global humanitarian crisis.

As the world becomes more interconnected, state leaders continue to play a larger role in international affairs – both by identifying opportunities to grow their economy through international trade and monitoring the geopolitics to ensure the health and safety of their citizens. In Washington, DC, states will be watching Congress to see if they act on President Obama’s top priority on his trade agenda – the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, or the TPP. The TPP agreement between 11 nations would be one of the largest agreements on history, covering over 800 million consumers and 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. It is important that state leaders review and understand the proposed agreement and voice their thoughts with Congress and federal agencies.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments requests that the Congress and the Executive Branch work with state and local governments to facilitate a better understanding of the roles and capabilities of governmental entities in protecting networks against possible cyber-attacks and explore how sharing information between states and the federal government – both before and after a breach – can help prevent future attacks or assist in the response to a previous attack.

In October, the Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, or CISA, 74-21. The bill is essentially an information-sharing bill, designed to allow companies that are hit by a hacker to share information—called “cyber threat indicators”—with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or DHS. DHS can then put out an alert, share suspicious code and warn other firms about the threat.

The House passed its own version of the bill—Protecting Cyber Networks Act—back in April.

It’s not a matter of whether or not a cybersecurity breach—affecting either a private or public institution—will happen, but when. Experts warn that both the frequency of cybersecurity threats and their level of sophistication will continue to increase, and state leaders need to know what they are facing. This session explored what state leaders need to know about cybersecurity threats to make informed decisions, anticipate challenges, share information, and define roles and responsibilities.

The Act makes “non‐consensual dissemination of private sexual images,” otherwise known as “revenge porn” a Class 4 felony. It is a crime to knowingly post sexually explicit photos, video, voice recordings, etc. of another person online without the person’s consent. Revenge porn is a growing problem due to increased use of social media and other technology. Posts are sexual exploitation and often include names, addresses, e‐mail addresses and other information that compromises the safety of victims and their families. The Act includes exceptions for telecommunications and law enforcement and voluntary exposure in public or commercial settings.

The Act requires that in the event of a data security breach information holders are to contact anyone whose data may have been accessed by an unauthorized person. Additionally, this Act requires that cloud computing service providers will not process student data without parental permission.

Secretaries of state are warning about the increasing risk of business identity theft as the problem spreads across the states. Criminals have been altering online business records housed by their offices and using them to open up phony lines of credit to illegally obtain valuable goods and services. Secretaries of state are working to establish new safeguards against such fraud, as they alert state legislators and other key stakeholders about the magnitude of the issue.

This Act defines cyberbullying and establishes prison sentences and fines for people who commit cyberbullying. 

This Act generally defines cyberbullying as bullying by using an electronic communication device. It incorporates cyberbullying into a general definition of bullying, and it directs local school boards to adopt plans to prohibit and address bullying on school grounds and in school vehicles. 

 

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