MeriTalk News Briefs: House Questions Electric Grid Security, Senators Press Alphabet CEO On Data Access

Welcome to MeriTalk News Briefs, where we bring you all the day’s action that didn’t quite make the headlines. No need to shout about ‘em, but we do feel that they merit talk.

House Members Query GAO on Electric Grid Security

Four senior House Democrats in a July 10 letter asked the head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office to provide them with information on a range of cybersecurity issues related to the U.S. electric power grid, including: whether grid utilities have enough cybersecurity staff to protect critical networks; whether Bulk Electric System (BES) grid components and non-BES components are using Kaspersky Lab products on their networks; whether BES and non-BES components are employing appropriate NIST cybersecurity standards; and a cybersecurity review of non-BES grid components along with recommendations to help improve cybersecurity preparedness of U.S. critical infrastructures. House members signing the letter were: Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, ranking member of the House Science, Space & Technology Committee; Rep. Don Beyer Jr., D-Va., ranking member of its oversight subcommittee; Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Texas, ranking member of its energy subcommittee; and Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., ranking member of its research and technology subcommittee.

Senators Press Alphabet CEO On Gmail Data Access

A group of senators including Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, asked Alphabet CEO Larry Page a number of questions in a July 10 letter related to the reported use by third party application developers of personal data of users of Google’s Gmail service. The senators asked for a reply by July 24 “to assist the committee as it consider potential legislation” to address access to user data by app developers generally and “broader data privacy matters.” The letter was also signed by Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the committee’s Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet Subcommittee, and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., chairman of its Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security Subcommittee.

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