Congressman Kerry Bentivolio

Representing the 11th District of Michigan

Congressman Bentivolio’s Safe and Secure Federal Websites Act passes Oversight Committee

Mar 12, 2014
Press Release

Congressman Bentivolio’s Safe and Secure Federal Websites Act passes Oversight Committee

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed H.R. 3635, the Safe and Secure Federal Websites Act of 2013, with bipartisan support by a unanimous voice vote.

“We have a duty to protect our constituents,” said Congressman Kerry Bentivolio.  “When entering their personal information on a federal website, Americans should have the peace of mind that it will remain private, safe, and secure from hackers. I thank Representative Connolly for offering an amendment that makes a great bill even better. I’m proud to be joined by my Oversight colleagues from both sides of the aisle in protecting the privacy of our constituents.”

The Safe and Secure Federal Websites Act, which Rep. Kerry Bentivolio introduced on December 3, 2013, passed today with one amendment. This bill seeks to ensure that all new federal websites and websites that collect personally identifiable information launched after October 1, 2012 are certified as secure or taken down.

Under this bill, any new federal website that collects personally identifiable information (PII), such as social security, dates of birth, or credit card numbers, must be certified as fully functional and secure by the agency’s Chief Information Officer before launch. The website must comply with the existing information security guidelines published in United States code.

Additionally, any federal employees and contractors who have access to PII must be vetted and agree to keep all information confidential.

Agencies that launched websites that collect PII after October 1, 2013 would be given 90 days to comply with these guidelines and to provide certification.

Congressman Frank Connolly (D-VA) offered an amendment to H.R. 3635. The Connolly Amendment requires all individuals to be notified within 72 hours if their personally identifiable information is compromised. The amendment passed by a voice vote.

The bill gained attention earlier this year by gaining overwhelming support from Congress. With 124 co-sponsors, The Safe and Secure Federal Websites Act has more support than any bill offered by a House Republican freshman.

The version of H.R. 3635 which passed the committee can be viewed by clicking here.

The Connolly Amendment can be viewed by clicking here.

Congressmen Bentivolio’s full remarks from the Oversight and Government Reform Full Business Committee Meeting

“Chairman Issa, Ranking Member Cummings, and fellow members of the committee,

“H.R. 3635, The Safe and Secure Federal Websites Act addresses an important problem facing Americans throughout the country. Every day, hackers attack websites looking for ways to steal personal information. We must ensure that our constituents can confidently use federal websites without the fear of a security lapse. Our job as members of Congress is to protect the public trust. My amendment does that.

“It covers federal websites that collect personally identifiable information, such as social security numbers, dates of birth, or credit card numbers. These websites would be required to do the following:

“Before being launched, the agency’s Chief Information Officer must certify to Congress that the website is fully functional and secure.

“The website must comply with existing information security guidelines published in United States Code.

“Federal employees and contractors who have access to personal information must be vetted and agree to keep all information confidential.

“Agencies who have launched websites during the past 18 months would be given a period of time to adhere to these guidelines and provide certification.

“This is something on which this committee can work together on a bipartisan basis. We have the duty to protect our constituents, especially if they are being directed by our offices to use federal websites that require their personal information. If Americans cannot trust federal websites, they will be leery of going on these websites and finding the information and services they need."

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