Cybersecurity and Information Sharing, and More from CRS

New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Comparison of H.R. 1560 and H.R. 1731, April 20, 2015

FY2016 Appropriations for the Department of Justice (DOJ), April 15, 2015

Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress, April 16, 2015

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA): Frequently Asked Questions, April 20, 2015

Mountaintop Mining: Background on Current Controversies, April 20, 2015

FEMA’s Public Assistance Grant Program: Background and Considerations for Congress, April 16, 2015

Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress, April 17, 2015

Islamic State Financing, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that have been withheld from public distribution include the following.

Islamic State Financing and U.S. Policy Approaches, April 10, 2015

2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force: Issues Concerning Its Continued Application, April 14, 2015

The War Powers Resolution: Concepts and Practice, April 3, 2015

Iran: Efforts to Achieve a Nuclear Accord, April 9, 2015

Science and Technology Issues in the 114th Congress, April 7, 2015

Military Funeral Honors and Military Cemeteries: Frequently Asked Questions, April 10, 2015

Patent Litigation Reform Legislation in the 114th Congress, April 10, 2015

Funding of Presidential Nominating Conventions: An Overview, April 9, 2015

Recent Changes in the Estate and Gift Tax Provisions, April 13, 2015

El Salvador: Background and U.S. Relations, April 9, 2015

Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations, April 1, 2015

Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances, April 10, 2015

Attempt: An Overview of Federal Criminal Law, April 6, 2015

Barriers Along the U.S. Borders: Key Authorities and Requirements, April 8, 2015

Railroad-Related Fatalities, and More from CRS

The leading cause of railroad-related deaths is not collisions or derailments, but trespassing, explains a neatly argued new issue brief from the Congressional Research Service. See Rail Safety Efforts Miss Leading Cause of Fatalities, CRS Insights, April 2, 2015.

Other new and newly updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from public distribution include the following.

Net Neutrality: Selected Legal Issues Raised by the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, April 6, 2015

Ballistic Missile Defense in the Asia-Pacific Region: Cooperation and Opposition, April 3, 2015

An Overview of Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas: Resources and Federal Actions, April 7, 2015

U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas, April 3, 2015

Marijuana: Medical and Retail — Selected Legal Issues, April 8, 2015

Social Media in the House of Representatives: Frequently Asked Questions, April 2, 2015

The No Fly List: Procedural Due Process and Hurdles to Litigation, April 2, 2015

Domestic Drones & Privacy, and More from CRS

The anticipated deployment of thousands of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) — or drones — in American skies raises unresolved privacy concerns that have barely begun to be addressed, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

The CRS report provides “a primer on privacy issues related to various UAS operations, both public and private, including an overview of current UAS uses, the privacy interests implicated by these operations, and various potential approaches to UAS privacy regulation.” See Domestic Drones and Privacy: A Primer, March 30, 2015.

This week, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed suit against the Federal Aviation Administration arguing that the FAA was obliged to establish privacy rules for commercial drones and that it had failed to do so.

The privacy implications of drones have been discussed in several congressional hearings over the past two years, yielding these published hearing volumes:

U.S. Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Integration, Oversight, and Competitiveness, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, December 10, 2014

Eyes in the Sky: The Domestic Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems, House Judiciary Committee, May 17, 2013

The Future of Drones in America: Law Enforcement and Privacy Considerations, Senate Judiciary Committee, March 20, 2013

                *    *    *

Other new or updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Cyberwarfare and Cyberterrorism: In Brief, March 27, 2015

The United Kingdom: Background and Relations with the United States, March 27, 2015

Yemen: Civil War and Regional Intervention, March 26, 2015

Peace Talks in Colombia, March 31, 2015

Membership of the 114th Congress: A Profile, March 31, 2015

Supervised Release (Parole): An Overview of Federal Law, March 5, 2015


Cybersecurity Information Sharing: A Legal Morass, Says CRS

Several pending bills would promote increased sharing of cybersecurity-related information — such as threat intelligence and system vulnerabilities — in order to combat the perceived rise in the frequency and intensity of cyber attacks against private and government entities.

But such information sharing is easier said than done, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service, because it involves a thicket of conflicting and perhaps incompatible laws and policy objectives.

“The legal issues surrounding cybersecurity information sharing… are complex and have few certain resolutions.” A copy of the CRS report was obtained by Secrecy News. See Cybersecurity and Information Sharing: Legal Challenges and Solutions, March 16, 2015.

Cyber information sharing takes at least three different forms: the release of cyber intelligence from government to the private sector, information sharing among private entities, and the transfer of threat information from private entities to government agencies.

“While collectively these three variants on the concept of cyber-information sharing have some commonalities, each also raises separate legal challenges that may impede cyber-intelligence dissemination more generally,” said the CRS report, which examines the legal ramifications of each category in turn.

Among the concerns at issue are: the potential for liability associate with disclosure of cybersecurity information, inappropriate release of private information through open government laws, loss of intellectual property, and potential compromise of personal privacy rights.

All of these create a legal morass that may be unreconcilable.

“A fundamental question lawmakers may need to contemplate is how restrictions that require close government scrutiny and control over shared cyber-information can be squared with other goals of cyber-information sharing legislation, like requirements that received information be disseminated in an almost instantaneous fashion,” the CRS report said.

“Ultimately, because the goals of cyber-information legislation are often diametrically opposed, it may simply be impossible for information sharing legislation to simultaneously promote the rapid and robust collection and dissemination of cyber-intelligence by the federal government, while also ensuring that the government respects the property and privacy interests implicated by such information sharing,” the report said.

Other new or newly updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from public distribution include the following.

Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic, March 13, 2015

EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan: Conversion to Mass-Based Emission Targets, March 17, 2015

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): A Primer for the 114th Congress, March 17, 2015

Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2016, March 18, 2015

The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape, March 16, 2015

Mandatory Spending Since 1962, March 18, 2015

Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations, March 17, 2015

Balancing Tourism against Terrorism: The Visa Waiver Program, CRS Insights, March 13, 2015

U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues, March 18, 2015


Changes in the Arctic, and More from CRS

The policy implications of changing climatic conditions in the Arctic region, and specifically the record loss of ice cover, are explored in a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service. See Changes in the Arctic, March 17, 2015.

“There are only eight nations in the world whose territory above the Arctic Circle gives them the right to claim being an Arctic nation,” said Adm. Robert Papp, Jr., the U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic, at a congressional hearing last December. “The United States is one, although it has been my experience that Americans do not embrace or fully understand the concept of being an Arctic nation.”

Other new and updated CRS products that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Energy Tax Incentives: Measuring Value Across Different Types of Energy Resources, March 19, 2015

Recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, CRS Fact Sheet, March 19, 2015

“Holds” in the Senate, March 19, 2015

Increased Campaign Contribution Limits in the FY2015 Omnibus Appropriations Law: Frequently Asked Questions, March 17, 2015

U.S. Manufacturing in International Perspective, March 17, 2015

African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA): Background and Reauthorization, March 13, 2015

International Drug Control Policy: Background and U.S. Responses, March 16, 2015

U.S. Hits the Debt Limit, and More from CRS

The U.S. Government reached the statutory debt limit today, exhausting its normal ability to borrow money. In order to meet the government’s financial obligations, the Secretary of the Treasury must now take certain extraordinary measures. A newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service provides background on federal debt policy and explains the current state of affairs.  See The Debt Limit Since 2011, March 9, 2015.

Other new or newly updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from public distribution include the following.

Internet Domain Names: Background and Policy Issues, March 6, 2015

Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress, March 6, 2015

Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate, March 9, 2015

The Federal Budget: Overview and Issues for FY2016 and Beyond, March 6, 2015

OSC Rule Seemingly Expands Federal Contractor Whistleblower Rights, CRS Legal Sidebar, March 11, 2015

Scientific Basis of Environmental Protection Agency Actions: H.R. 1029 and H.R. 1030, CRS Insights, March 11, 2015

Prevalence of Mental Illness in the United States: Data Sources and Estimates, March 9, 2015

Health Care for Veterans: Traumatic Brain Injury, March 9, 2015

U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations During President Obama’s First Six Years (2009-2014): Comparative Analysis with Recent Presidents, March 9, 2015

Federal Grants to State and Local Governments: A Historical Perspective on Contemporary Issues, March 5, 2015

The European Capital Markets Union, CRS Insights, March 11, 2015

Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive, March 6, 2015

Northern Ireland: The Peace Process, March 11, 2015

China-U.S. Trade Issues, March 9, 2015

Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress, March 4, 2015

Iran Sanctions, March 9, 2015


FOIA Reform Legislation, and More from CRS

Two companion bills pending in the House and Senate would amend the Freedom of Information Act “for the purpose of increasing public access,” a new analysis of the legislation from the Congressional Research Service explains.

Among other things, “both the House and Senate legislation would establish a statutory ‘presumption of openness,’ whereby information may only be withheld if it harms an interest protected by a statutory exemption or if disclosure is prohibited by law.”

While both bills “address a number similar topics, often in similar ways, there are substantive differences between them.” The similarities and the differences in the pending bills are summarized in the new CRS report. See Freedom of Information Act Legislation in the 114th Congress: Issue Summary and Side-by-Side Analysis, February 26, 2015.

Other new or updated CRS publications that Congress has withheld from online public disclosure include the following.

Email Privacy: District Court Rules that ECPA Warrants Apply to Electronic Communications Stored Overseas, CRS Legal Sidebar, March 4, 2015

U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Current Conflicts, February 27, 2015

Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources, February 27, 2015

The Nunn-McCurdy Act: Background, Analysis, and Issues for Congress, March 3, 2015

Growth in Health Spending Remained Relatively Low in 2013, CRS Insights, February 27, 2015

Legislative Actions to Repeal, Defund, or Delay the Affordable Care Act, March 2, 2015

Implementing the Affordable Care Act: Delays, Extensions, and Other Actions Taken by the Administration, March 3, 2015

Foreign Heads of State Addressing Congress, CRS Insights, February 27, 2015

Israel: Background and U.S. Relations, February 27, 2015

Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations, March 3, 2015

Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress, February 27, 2015

Locate an Agency or Program Within Appropriations Bills, February 27, 2015

The EMV Chip Card Transition: Background, Status, and Issues for Congress, February 26, 2015

Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Statistics and Programs, February 26, 2015

Genetic Testing: Background and Policy Issues, March 2, 2015


Refugee Admissions and Resettlement, and More from CRS

Newly updated publications from the Congressional Research Service that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy, February 18, 2015

U.S. Tsunami Program: A Brief Overview, February 20, 2015

Legislation to Facilitate Cybersecurity Information Sharing: Economic Analysis, February 23, 2015

Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress, February 23, 2015

Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress, February 24, 2015

Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons, February 23, 2015

Adapting to Climate Change, and More from CRS

A new report from the Congressional Research Service describes government agency plans to anticipate and adapt to the effects of climate change, as required by a 2013 executive order.
The first step is a vulnerability assessment. For the Department of Defense, climate change may have “potential impacts on geopolitics and national security interests that could result in [new] military operations, risks to existing military infrastructure, and hindrances to readiness and the ability to execute missions.”
“Climate change could affect the type, scope, frequency, tactics, and location of military operations worldwide,” the CRS report said. Already, “The Air Force has found that the combination of thawing permafrost, decreasing sea ice, and rising sea levels on the Alaskan coast has increased coastal erosion at several Air Force radar early-warning and communication installations.”
The new CRS report surveys the range of agency responses to date. See Climate Change Adaptation by Federal Agencies: An Analysis of Plans and Issues for Congress, February 23, 2015.

Other new and updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.
The Obama Administration’s Proposed AUMF Against the Islamic State: Some Immediate Takeaways, CRS Legal Sidebar, February 19, 2015

Common Questions About Federal Records and Related Agency Requirements, February 2, 2015

China’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), January 30, 2015

International Law and Agreements: Their Effect Upon U.S. Law, February 18, 2015

Veto Override Procedure in the House and Senate, February 25, 2015

Anthem Data Breach: How Safe is Health Information Under HIPAA?, CRS Insights, February 24, 2015

Number of African American Judges Reaches All-Time High: Do Issues Remain?, CRS Insights, February 23, 2015

USCIS Funding and Accountability to Congress, CRS Insights, February 19, 2015

U.S. Citizens Kidnapped by the Islamic State, CRS Insights, February 13, 2015

and see, relatedly, How Much Are Americans Worth? By Aaron Gluck, International Affairs Review