Bill Would Allow Americans To Sue Foreign Hackers

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Gary Arlen)

The victims of foreign cyberattacks, including the theft of personal information, would be able to sue those countries under a new law, the Homeland and Cyber Threat Act, introduced by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.).

According to Kennedy Thursday (Nov. 18), while the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 allows American individuals to sue foreign governments in a U.S. federal court in some instances, but not among the instances anticipated were cyberattacks.

“Americans who fall prey to our adversaries’ cyberattacks have no legal recourse under current law,” said Kennedy. ”Our citizens are powerless to act against foreign governments that damage their property or reputation.”

The new legislation would add cyber attacks to the list and includes a list of foreign actions that would be grounds for such cyber-attack suits:

1. “Accessing U.S. computers or electronics without authorization;
2. “Damaging a U.S. computer by sending unauthorized information;
3. “Using or sharing information (without consent) obtained by the conduct described above; and
4. “Providing material support for any of the above activities.” ■

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.