Counties Urge General Assembly to Dissuade Cyber Attacks on Emergency Services

On February 21, 2023, Associate Policy Director Sarah Sample testified before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of SB 0405 – Criminal Law – Public Safety – Interference With a Public Safety Answering Point – Penalties.

The House Judiciary Committee considered the bill’s cross-file, HB 0744, on February 23.

SB 0405 prohibits individuals from committing computer-related crimes with the intent to interrupt or impair the funtioning of public safety answering apparatuses. In effect, the bill bolsters state law by disuading sophisticated cyberattacks that pose a threat to the stability and responsiveness of Maryland’s 9-1-1 system. Hackers are increasingly targeting state and local government with cyberattacks that can jeopardize sensitive information and disrupt emergency services. Counties, and Maryland’s communities more generally, stand to benefit greatly from the enhanced safety provided by SB 0405.

From the MACo Testimony:

SB 405 generally prohibits any actions that intend to interrupt or impair the functioning of a 9-1-1 center. Under the bill, if an individual commits a prohibited act that intends to interrupt the operations of a 9-1-1 center, the person is guilty of a felony and subject to imprisonment for up to five years and/or a fine up to $25,000. In addition, if an individual perpetrates an illegal act that disrupts the operations of a 9-1-1 center, the violator is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to ten years and/or a $50,000 maximum fine.