The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation requiring the federal government to adopt categories to classify cybercrimes to more uniformly track these crimes and improve data collection around these efforts.
The Better Cybercrimes Metrics Act (S. 2629) was passed by unanimous consent and would require the Attorney General to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to develop a taxonomy to categorize different kinds of cybercrimes and cyber-enabled crime targeting businesses and individuals.
The taxonomy would help the FBI classify cybercrimes in the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) that is used to capture details on every crime, improving the quality of crime data to “provide more useful statistics to promote constructive discussion, measured planning, and informed policing,” the FBI says on its website.
The National Academy of Sciences would have a year to create the taxonomy and brief Congress on its work. Within two years of the bill becoming law, the Attorney General would have to create a category in the NIBRS for the collection of cybercrime reports from federal, state and local governments.
The bill would also require the Government Accountability Office to report within six months of enactment on the effectiveness of current reporting mechanisms for cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime in the U.S. and on the disparities in reporting on these types of crimes versus other crimes.
The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved the same bipartisan bill, H.R. 4977, sending it to the House floor on a voice vote.
“The Uniform Federal Crime Reporting Act of 1988 directs the Attorney General to collect and classify national data on federal crimes, but we have not updated our crime tracking systems to track and report cybercrime in a uniform way,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement ahead of the markup of the bill. “H.R. 4977, the Better Cybercrime Metrics Act will help us address this problem by directing the Department of Justice to work with the National Academy of Sciences, law enforcement, business leaders, cybercrime experts, and other stakeholders to create a taxonomy of the different types of cybercrime and cyber-enabled crimes.”