Senate Legislation Would Improve Data Collection on Cybercrimes
The Better Cybercrime Metrics Act would bring comprehensive metrics to the impact of cybercrime on Americans.
Cybercrime affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year and costs untold billions in fraud and damages, but those statistics are largely rough estimates because the government and law enforcement agencies do not have a comprehensive way of measuring its impact.
A Senate bill introduced this week would address that issue, requiring the FBI to integrate cybercrime incidents into reporting streams. The Better Cybercrime Metrics Act, introduced by Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Thom Tillis, R-N.C., John Cornyn, R-Texas and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., would direct the FBI to report metrics on cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime in the same way the law enforcement agency does for other types of property crime.
“To protect people and fight online crimes, including hacks and scams, we need to understand how often, when, and where it’s happening. Our bipartisan bill will equip us with the data we need to go after criminals and provide more support to victims of cybercrime,” Schatz said in a statement.
According to the bill’s sponsors, estimates suggest only about 10% of cybercrime victims report incidents. If passed, the legislation would encourage local and federal law enforcement agencies to report such incidents within their jurisdictions to the FBI. The legislation would further authorize a study of the National Academies of Science to develop a taxonomy for cybercrime incidents, in partnership with federal, state, local and tribal stakeholders, criminologists and private sector leaders.
The bill would also require the Bureau of Justice Statistics—under the Justice Department—and Census Bureau to include questions about cyber- and cyber-enabled crime in its annual National Crime Victimization Survey. That data would better inform law enforcement agencies and lawmakers as they develop policies to combat an untick in cyber activity.
“Cybercrimes have steadily increased in recent years, putting private information, energy dependability, and our national security at risk,” Tillis said in a statement. “It’s time for Congress to act on these growing threats by giving law enforcement and policymakers the tools needed to improve data collection and respond to cyber-attacks. I am proud to introduce this commonsense, bipartisan legislation to protect every American from the threat of cybercrimes.”
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