A newly introduced bill in the House of Representatives would give Americans the ability to make claims in Federal or state courts against foreign states that engage in cyberattacks against U.S. citizens.

The bipartisan Homeland and Cyber Threat (HACT) Act was introduced in the House on March 8 by Reps. Colin Allred, D-Texas, Jack Bergman, R-Mich., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Jamie Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., Joe Neguse, D-Colo., and Andy Kim, D-N.J.

“Cyberattacks against American citizens are only increasing and Congress should give Americans the tools they need to fight back against foreign attacks,” Rep. Allred said in a press release. “This legislation does just that by giving Americans the ability to hold foreign governments accountable for damage done by cyberattacks. I’m grateful to my colleagues from both sides of the aisle for their work on this timely and commonsense legislation.”

If enacted, the bill would strip immunity given to foreign states in U.S. courts regarding “monetary damages sought by U.S. citizens for personal injury, harm to reputation, or damage to or loss of property resulting from cyberattacks.” This includes stripping immunity from foreign officials, employees, or agents.

“A foreign government that sponsors cyber-attacks on American citizens should be held accountable for its actions, and that’s why I’m helping introduce the HACT Act to remove immunity for these foreign state actors who have wronged Americans, and allow our citizens to pursue monetary damages,” Rep. Herrera Beutler said. “Congress should stop bad acting foreign nations from undermining our national security and opening a path to seize assets they hold here in the U.S. as a consequence for misdeeds is a good place to start.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.