Hawaii Cybersecurity Legislation in 2018

At the end of the 2017 Hawaii legislative session, several bills were carried over to the upcoming 2018 legislative session. Four notable bills carried over include the following:

  • House Bill 598 – appropriates funds to allow the University of Hawaii to participate in and contribute funding for activities related to the development of a Hawaii cyber ecosystem and other related aspects of cyber security.
  • House Bill 1089 and Senate Bill 955 – establishes within the State’s Office of Homeland Security a “state fusion center” to integrate activities relating to IT, Cybersecurity, cybercrime and other risk awareness and prevention activities.
  • House Bill 1481 – establishes a working group to study the uses of blockchain technology and related best practices. This bill cites the possible cybersecurity benefits blockchain technology may have on identity and access management and calls for a cybersecurity expert to be a member of the working group.

It is not clear to what extent these bills will be taken up in 2018 but it gives you a sense of the ideas that had some consensus. First, that investing in the University of Hawaii system is viewed as critical to improving cybersecurity in the state as a whole. Second, that despite having a state CIO and CISO, administrative reorganization and fine tuning is needed to improve the state’s posture. This is expected since improving cybersecurity is a process of transformation that can take years.

With the Equifax breach reported in September for 2017, the release and repurposing of sophisticated malware, election systems being targeted, social networks leveraged to influence the democratic process and alleged corporate misconduct in covering up data breaches (see CNN.com summary), it will be interesting to see if any new legislation will be introduced to address them. Whether any new state law can actually make a big difference remains to be seen but your never know as people develop new ideas.

Legislators will have until January 24, 2018 to introduce new bills and we will provide an update on any notable cybersecurity legislation that is under consideration. Until then, if you have an idea for cybersecurity legislation or want to comment on currently proposed bills, contact your legislator right away and get involved. You can start here: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov.