recommended reading

Federal Website Security Bill Moves Forward in House

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich.

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich. // Paul Sancya/AP File Photo

Legislation approved by the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday would require agency chief information officers to vouch to Congress for the security of any new government websites that gather citizens' personal information.

Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., introduced the legislation in December in the wake of reports that, the Obama administration’s troubled online federal health insurance marketplace could have exposed insurance seekers’ personal information to hackers. During committee discussion on Wednesday, members focused on private sector data breaches at Target and other retailers.

There have been no successful hacks against and that the system adheres to government standards for information security, the Health and Human Services Department has said.

“We have a duty to protect our constituents, especially if they are being directed by our offices to use federal websites that require their personal information,” Bentivolio said. “If Americans cannot trust federal websites they will be wary of going on these websites and finding the information and services they need.”

The Safe and Secure Federal Websites Act would require agency CIOs to submit certification to Congress that each new government website that collects citizens’ personal information is secure and functional before it can go live. It would also give agency CIOs 90 days to certify the security of existing websites launched since October 2012 if and when the bill becomes law.

The bill includes an exception for websites or portions of websites in a beta testing stage provided citizens complete an agreement acknowledging the risks involved before entering any personal information.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., added an amendment during discussion that would put the power of legislation behind existing Office of Management and Budget guidance that requires agencies to notify citizens whose personal information has been compromised by a federal website to be notified within three days. 

Threatwatch Alert

Network intrusion / Software vulnerability

Hundreds of Thousands of Job Seekers' Information May Have Been Compromised by Hackers

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.