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108th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1st Session 108-305
GOVERNMENT NETWORK SECURITY ACT OF 2003
October 7, 2003.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
State of the Union and order to be printed
Mr. Tom Davis of Virginia, from the Committee on Government Reform,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 3159]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Government Reform, to whom was referred
the bill (H.R. 3159) to require Federal agencies to develop and
implement plans to protect the security and privacy of
government computer systems from the risks posed by peer-to-
peer file sharing, having considered the same, report favorably
thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
Committee Statement and Views.................................... 1
Explanation of Amendments........................................ 5
Committee Consideration.......................................... 5
Rollcall Votes................................................... 5
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch..................... 5
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............ 6
Constitutional Authority Statement............................... 6
Unfunded Mandate Statement....................................... 6
Committee Estimate............................................... 6
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported............. 6
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate... 6
COMMITTEE STATEMENT AND VIEWS
H.R. 3159 requires that federal agencies address the
security and privacy risks posed by peer-to-peer file sharing
programs when developing their network policies and procedures.
Agencies must ensure that federal computers and the important
information they store remain secure, private, and protected,
but agencies are given the flexibility to develop the most
appropriate means of accomplishing this goal through a
combination of technological means (such as firewalls) or non-
technological means (such as employee training).
Background and need for the legislation
Peer-to-peer file-sharing programs are Internet
applications that allow computer users to share electronic
files with other users connected to a common file sharing
network. Peer-to-peer file sharing programs can be used to
share any type of electronic files, but are commonly used to
share music, movies, and video games.
Peer-to-peer file sharing programs have become increasingly
popular in recent years. One such program, Kazaa, has been
downloaded nearly 280 million times--more than any other
software program in Internet history. Other popular programs
include BearShare and iMesh.
Peer-to-peer file-sharing programs increase the
connectivity between computers connected to a common peer-to-
peer network. This heightened connectivity can expose computers
to risks beyond those raised by other Internet activities.
A user of a peer-to-peer file sharing program chooses which
folders on his or her computer are available for sharing with
others on the same peer-to-peer network. Because peer-to-peer
file-sharing programs allow the sharing of any type
ofelectronic data, every computer file in these shared folders becomes
accessible to every other user on the peer-to-peer network. A peer-to-
peer user who chooses to share a folder containing a music collection
may not be aware that he or she is also sharing every personal document
that might be stored in the same location.
A recent Government Reform Committee investigation found
that peer-to-peer users are sharing more than movies, music,
and video games. Using a search tool built into the Kazaa
program, staff investigators found users sharing completed tax
forms, medical records, and complete e-mail inboxes.
This increased connectivity of peer-to-peer file sharing
also means that the computers used to operate these programs
can be at greater risk for viruses and other malicious files.
At a May 2003 Government Reform Committee hearing, leading
network security experts testified on how viruses and worms can
multiply on these peer-to-peer networks and enter into a user's
computer through a peer-to-peer file sharing program.
The security risks of peer-to-peer file sharing programs
potentially become far more serious when federal government
computers are used to connect to peer-to-peer networks. The
electronic information exposed may include data vital to
national security and personal files about citizens such as
financial, military, and medical records. Additionally, peer-
to-peer use on even one computer can introduce viruses and
worms to critical government networks, potentially slowing the
functioning of the affected agency.
The United States House of Representatives and Senate
recognized the risks of peer-to-peer file sharing nearly two
years ago. The House and Senate are successfully protecting the
privacy and security of congressional computers from the risks
of peer-to-peer file sharing through firewall technologies and
employee policies on appropriate computer use.
Although Congress has addressed the risks of peer-to-peer
file sharing, many federal government agencies have not taken
the steps necessary to protect their networks and computers. A
General Accounting Office investigation requested by the
Government Reform Committee has found computers actively using
peer-to-peer file sharing at federal agencies entrusted with
sensitive government information, including a Department of
Energy nuclear laboratory and a facility that manages NASA's
space flight research.
H.R. 3159 was introduced by the Committee on Government
Reform's Ranking Minority Member, Henry Waxman (CA), and the
Committee's Chairman, Tom Davis (VA), on September 24, 2003. It
is cosponsored by several members of the Government Reform
Committee, including Rep. Christopher Shays (CT), Rep. John
McHugh (NY), Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (MO), Rep. Edolphus Towns (NY),
Rep. John Carter (TX), Rep. Christopher Van Hollen (MD), Rep.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Rep. Chris Bell (TX), Rep. Mark
Souder (IN), Rep. Candice Miller (MI), Rep. Dan Burton (IN),
Rep. Ed Schrock (VA), Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA), Rep. Dutch
Ruppersberger (MD), Rep. Adam Putnam (FL), Rep. Elijah Cummings
(MD), Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA), Rep. Tom Lantos (CA), Rep.
Carolyn Maloney (NY), Rep. Major Owens (NY), Rep. Dianne Watson
(CA), Rep. Doug Ose (CA), Rep. Jim Cooper (TN), Del. Eleanor
Holmes Norton (DC), Rep. Danny Davis (IL), Rep. Joanne Davis
(VA), Rep. Mike Turner (OH), and Rep. Todd Platts (PA). The
bill was referred to the Committee on Government Reform.
On September 25, 2003, the Committee on Government Reform
met in open session to consider H.R. 3159 along with four other
measures. The committee favorably approved the bill by voice
vote and reported it to the House of Representatives.
Committee hearings and testimony
On May 15, 2003, the Committee on Government Reform held a
hearing entitled ``The Threats to Privacy and Security on File
Sharing Networks.'' \1\ The purpose of the hearing was for the
Committee to assess the security and privacy risks posed by the
use of peer-to-peer file sharing programs. Witnesses at the
hearing included Nathaniel S. Good, School of Information
Management Systems, University of California, Berkeley; Jeffrey
I. Schiller, Network Manager and Security Architect,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Dr. John Hale, Assistant
Professor of Computer Science and Director, Center for
Information Security, the University of Tulsa; and James E.
Farnan, Deputy Assistant Director, Cyber Division, Federal
Bureau of Investigation. These computer security experts
expressed significant concern about security vulnerabilities
associated with peer-to-peer file-sharing programs. Other
witnesses included Alan B. Davidson, Associate Director, Center
for Democracy and Technology; Derek S. Broes, Executive Vice
President of Worldwide Operations, Brilliant Digital
Entertainment; and Mari J. Frank, Esq., Mari J. Frank, Esq. &
\1\ ``Overexposed: The Threats to Privacy and Security on File
Sharing Networks,'' Committee on Government Reform, 108th Congress (May
15, 2003), Report No. 108-26.
On May 15, 2003, the Committee on Government Reform
released a staff report entitled ``File-Sharing Programs and
Peer-To-Peer Networks: Privacy and Security Risks.'' \2\ This
report summarizes the results of the Committee's staff
investigation into the potential privacy and security risks
associated with the use of peer-to-peer file-sharing programs.
Committee staff found that many users of file-sharing programs
have inadvertently made highly personal information available
to other users and that file-sharing software can spread
viruses, worms, and other malicious computer files.
\2\ Ibid., p. 125.
Section 1. Short title
The short title of this bill is the ``Government Network
Security Act of 2003.''
Section 2. Findings
This section details the findings of Congress that peer-to-
peer file sharing can pose security and privacy threats to
computers and networks. Specifically, peer-to-peer file sharing
can expose classified and sensitive information stored on
computers or networks, act as a point of entry for viruses and
other malicious programs, consume network resources, and expose
identifying information about host computers that can be used
by hackers to select potential targets.
This section also finds that the House of Representatives
and the Senate are using methods to protect the security and
privacy of congressional computers and networks from the risks
posed by peer-to-peer file sharing.
This section also finds that any potentially beneficial
innovations in peer-to-peer technology for government
applications can be pursued on state, local, and federal
networks. Use of peer-to-peer file sharing programs in this way
does pose risks to network security because it does not expose
government computers and networks to nongovernmental users.
Section 3. Protection of government computers from risks of peer-to-
peer file sharing
This section requires that, as part of the federal agency
responsibilities set forth by the Federal Information Security
Act of 2002 (44 U.S.C. 3544 and 44 U.S.C. 3545), each agency
develop and implement a plan to protect the security and
privacy of computers and networks from the risks posed by peer-
to-peer file sharing. These plans will include the use of
appropriate methods for each agency to achieve this goal,
including technological means such as software and hardware and
non-technological means such as employee training. Each agency
is required to develop and implement the plan no later than six
months after enactment of this Act and review and revise the
plan periodically as necessary.
This section also directs the Comptroller General to review
the adequacy of agency plans and submit to the Committee on
Government Reform of the House of Representatives and the
Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate a report on the
results of the review no later than 18 months after enactment
of this act. To facilitate evaluation, each agency should
provide a copy of the plan required under this Act to the
Comptroller General, preferably in electronic form. Each agency
should also provide the General Accounting Office with a
description of the agency's policy concerning the use of peer-
to-peer applications by employees, how the agency plans to
monitor employee compliance with this policy, how the agency
plans to enforce the policy, how the agency plans to address
peer-to-peer applications in its employee training programs,
the technological tools that agencies plan to use to monitor
and prevent inappropriate use of peer-to-peer applications, and
a timetable for implementing the plan including any significant
barriers to implementation. The requirement by the Comptroller
General to review such plans shall be satisfied by reviewing a
sample of the plans provided.
Section 4. Definitions
This section defines the term ``peer-to-peer file sharing''
to mean the use of computer software, other than computer and
network operating systems, that has as its primary function the
capability to allow the computer on which such software is used
to designate files available for transmission to another
computer using such software, to transmit files directly to
another such computer, and to request the transmission of files
from another such computer. The term does not include the use
of such software for file sharing between, among, or within
State, local, or Federal government agencies.
This section defines ``agency'' to have the meaning
provided by section 3502 of title 44, United States Code.
EXPLANATION OF AMENDMENTS
The Committee reported the bill without amendment.
On September 25, the Committee met in open session and
ordered reported favorably the bill, H.R. 3159 by voice vote.
No rollcall votes were held.
APPLICATION OF LAW TO THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public
services or accommodations within the meaning of section
102(B)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act (Public Law
STATEMENT OF OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE
In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of
Representatives, the Committee reports that the findings and
recommendations of the Committee, based on oversight activities
under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of
Representatives, are incorporated in the descriptive portions
of this report.
STATEMENT OF GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
H.R. 3159 does not authorize funding. Therefore, clause
3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives is inapplicable.
CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT
Under clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House
of Representatives, the Committee must include a statement
citing the specific powers granted to Congress to enact the law
proposed by H.R. 3159. The Committee finds that clauses 1 and
18 of Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution grant
Congress the power to enact this law.
UNFUNDED MANDATE STATEMENT
Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded
Mandate Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement whether
the provisions of the reported include unfunded mandates. In
compliance with this requirement the Committee has received a
letter from the Congressional Budget Office included herein.
Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out
H.R. 3159. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) of that rule provides
that this requirement does not apply when the Committee has
included in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the
bill prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act.
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL AS REPORTED
Clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives requires a comparative statement on changes
made to existing law proposed by the bill as reported. This
bill proposes no changes to existing law.
BUDGET AUTHORITY AND CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect
to requirements of clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of
the House of Representatives and section 402 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received
the following cost estimate for H.R. 3159 from the Director of
Congressional Budget Office:
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, October 6, 2003.
Hon. Tom Davis,
Chairman, Committee on Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3159, the
Government Network Security Act of 2003.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew
H.R. 3159--Government Network Security Act of 2003
H.R. 3159 would require federal agencies develop and
implement a plan within a six months to ensure computer systems
are secure from the use of Internet file-sharing (peer-to peer)
programs. Peer-to-peer file-sharing programs are Internet
applications that allow users to download and directly share
electronic files from other users on the same network. The
legislation would not prohibit the use of file-sharing
programs, but would require agencies to create a plan that uses
technology and employee training to address potential privacy
and security concerns for government computer networks. The
legislation also would require the General Accounting Office
(GAO) to review individual agency plans within 18 months after
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3159 would not have a
significiant impact on the federal budget. Under the E-
Government Act of 2002, federal agencies are already charged
with protecting information systems from unauthorized access,
use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. H.R.
3159 would highlight a specific security concern for computer
systems that federal agencies are currently implementing plans
to protect. Based on information from the Office of Management
and Budget and GAO, CBO expects that addressing this specific
security concern would not significantly increase the cost of
ongoing efforts to maintain secure federal computer systems.
In addition, the legislation would require the GAO to
review and report on the individual agencies plans. CBO expects
that completing the GAO report would cost less than $500,000,
assuming the availability of appropriated funds.
The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew
Pickford. This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine,
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.