Congressman Anthony Brown, D-Md., says federal employees ought to have their own advocate to safeguard their interests in case they fall victim to cyberattack.

Brown has introduced H.R. 3403, the so-called Cyber VICTIM bill: The Valuing Individual Cybersecurity Through Interagency Measures Act. It would create a new role for a federal official who would serve as an interagency cyber victim coordinator.

“Federal employees devote their lives to civil service, and we must make it a priority to both protect against information theft and guarantee robust response if an attack occurs. These breaches are becoming much too commonplace. Information theft should not be an occupational hazard of federal employment,” Brown said in a press release.

Brown cited a raft of recent attacks that have impacted federal workers, including the 2014 attack that exposed information on some 800,000 Postal Service workers and a subsequent hack in which 21.5 million records including 5.6 million fingerprints were stolen from OPM.

“While we have taken steps to improve our defenses against future breaches, the federal government must support those who have fallen victim to these attacks,” Brown said.

The cyber coordinator would be tasked with coordinating efforts across federal agencies in response to data breaches and cyberattacks on federal employees. The office would work to ensure that affected federal workers got a timely and appropriate response from their employers.

The office also would be charged with developing processes and procedures to keep victims informed of mitigation activities around personal information, while also keeping them current on prosecutions of the perpetrators.

If enacted, the proposed law would also require the cyber official to provide a report detailing the effects of a potential breach within 180 days, along with an annual report to Congress summarizing the office’s response to attacks throughout the federal government.

Other sponsors on the bill include Congressman Rob Wittman, R-Va., and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md.

“Our federal employees are often targeted for identity theft simply because they are public servants,” Ruppersberger said. “[W]e owe these hard-working men and women every resources available should they become victims.”

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