Bay Ridge

Donovan wants anti-terror funds to fight cyber-crime

June 17, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan says the ability of terrorists to attack the country via the computer must be thwarted. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas
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Is the computer becoming a terror weapon? In the wrong hands, it could be, according to U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan, who has introduced legislation to change to the country’s cybersecurity procedures.

Donovan, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications, said the bill he introduced, the Cyber Preparedness Act, is aimed at improving information sharing among federal, state and local authorities.

The bill, which Donovan (R-C-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island) introduced on June 14, would also allow local governments to use federal homeland security grants for cybersecurity.

“Information sharing and adjustments to grant rules might sound mundane, but defending against cyberattack requires attention to every detail,” Donovan said in a statement. “The tweaks made in my bill come directly from expert testimony at a hearing last month, and they’ll have a meaningful impact on cyber defenses.”

In May, Donovan’s committee held hearings on emergency preparedness and heard from a variety of security experts on the issue of information sharing and cybercrime. Donovan said he incorporated some of the recommendations made by experts at the hearing when drafting his legislation.

Part of the testimony dealt with “fusion centers,” which are information centers established by state and local law enforcement agencies in coordination with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security following the Sept. 11 attacks to bring together federal, state and local agencies to share counter-terrorism intelligence.

But Donovan said that state and local law enforcement officials do not always get current information from federal authorities on cyber threats.

In testimony at the May cybersecurity hearing, Lt. Col. Daniel J. Cooney, assistant deputy superintendent for the New York State Police Office of Counterterrorism, suggested that federal cybersecurity intelligence is not shared with state and urban fusion centers as quickly as counter-terror information is shared, according to Donovan.

The Dept. of Homeland Security operates the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) to share information among federal agencies.

The Cyber Preparedness Act would allow representatives from state and local fusion centers to operate out of NCCIC. It would foster improved and more efficient information sharing, Donovan said.

The bill also seeks to clarify that homeland security grants can be used to fund state and local cybersecurity initiatives, Donovan said.


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