US lawmakers are getting tough on cybercrime. Proposed laws take significant steps towards creating a safer industry

By Quantum Capital Fund

Less than 24 hours after passing the controversial Internet Sales Tax Bill, which could be used as a funding model for the country’s current cyber security programme, the US senate proposes new laws to go after foreign cyber criminals.

This is being driven by a group of bi-partisan senators who are reportedly tired of seeing US companies being subjected to wholesale cyber crime. Technology website cnet.com reports that the law, dubbed "Deter Cyber Theft Act," was proposed on May 7, 2013 by Democrats Carl Levin and Jay Rockefeller and Republicans John McCain and Tom Coburn. The goal of the legislation is to protect commercial data from foreign hackers and governments.

Cnet adds that a number of countries have been accused of masterminding the attacks, but the majority of the blame has fallen on China. According to the Pentagon's annual report to Congress, which was published on Monday, China maintained a steady campaign of computer intrusions in 2012 that were designed to acquire information about the U.S. government's foreign policy and military plans. While U.S. officials have raised such allegations before, the tenor of the charges has been steadily increasing in recent months.

"China continues to leverage foreign investments, commercial joint ventures, academic exchanges, the experience of repatriated Chinese students and researchers, and state-sponsored industrial and technical espionage to increase the level of technologies and expertise available to support military research, development, and acquisition," the report said.

Cnet adds that if passed, the law would require an annual report to list the countries involved in cyberespionage, along with highlighting the worst offenders, according to Reuters. The report would also detail what kind of data the cybercriminals were stealing. These lists could lead to the president blocking imports of certain products or imports from specific countries.

It has become clear that the Internet is being used as a medium to carry out espionage attacks, similar to those seen during the days of the Cold War. And although the US prides itself on an industry which is not subjected to over regulation, there should be a general consensus among the industry leaders which will see the general public put their weight behind the bill in order to create a safer industry.