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Chinese Hacking Case Riles Up Pa. Lawmakers
Posted at 2:21 p.m. on May 30
Two Pittsburgh-area House members want federal agencies to spell out whether they have the authority to impose sanctions on companies that use cyber-espionage to steal trade secrets.
The proposal, made yesterday on the House floor, comes after recent allegations of Chinese hacking of U.S. companies’ networks. Several of the targeted entities, including U.S. Steel and Alcoa, have big presences in Pittsburgh.
Sponsored by Democrat Mike Doyle and backed by Republican Tim Murphy, the measure was offered yesterday as an amendment to a fiscal 2015 spending bill that covers the Commerce and Justice Departments as well as various science agencies. The amendment would focus on the Commerce Department, the U.S. Trade Representative and the International Trade Commission.
“And while these indictments are the first of their kind, businesses in the United States have been facing cyberattacks like this for years,” Doyle said yesterday. “Now I’d like to think that these cyber-spies will be prosecuted and imprisoned for their actions at some point. But that won’t do anything to reverse the damage that they’ve done.”
“Let’s send a clear message to the bad actors around the world that the United States has the power and the will to punish those that engage in criminal trade practices,” Doyle said.
Doyle withdrew the amendment, and while it’s unclear precisely why he withdrew it, the chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction indicated that it could re-emerge as the legislative process moves forward. “This is one of the better amendments offered today,” said Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., a vocal critic of the Chinese government. “Frankly I will do everything I can to make sure this is in the bill when it becomes a conference report.”
Last week, CQ Roll Call’s David Harrison reported that New York Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer called for the “United States to file a lawsuit with the World Trade Organization to punish China for allegedly hacking into the networks of American businesses, an action that would raise the profile of the charges in the trade world and potentially draw other nations into the dispute.”