Sept. 13, the House Homeland Security Committee advanced the United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2016, introduced by Reps. James Langevin (D-RI) and Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity John Ratcliffe (R-TX). Inspired by a trip to Israel by the two legislators, the bill amends previous legislation to extend U.S.-Israel homeland security research and antiterrorism programs to include cybersecurity, and proposes a cybersecurity grant program at the Department of Homeland Security to promote joint U.S.-Israel R&D projects. The bill “[takes] us one step closer toward establishing new levels of cybersecurity collaboration with our strongest and most trusted ally in the Middle East,” said Rep. Ratcliffe.
Sept. 12, senior executives from Facebook Inc. met with Israeli ministers to discuss approaches to combating incitement on the social media platform. Since October 2015, Israel has experienced a wave of Palestinian terrorism, with many of the assailants claiming to have been influenced by content on Facebook and other online platforms. The meeting participants agreed to establish joint teams to work on the issue. In the past four months, Facebook removed 95 percent of content Israeli officials flagged as problematic. “This is impressive, but we understand that the amount of online incitement is much greater and we must continue to increase our efforts,” said Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. A statement from the company reiterated that “Facebook has a zero tolerance for terrorism.”
In late September, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan led a trade mission to Israel focused on the cybersecurity, biotech and medical industries. During the visit, Gov. Hogan announced that Ra’anana-based software company Cyberbit would build a cybersecurity training center in Baltimore creating roughly 100 new jobs. Israel is one of Maryland’s largest trading partners, with $145 million in exports last year. Gov. Hogan noted in an interview with The Associated Press that, “there is a real synergy between this nation and our state.” He added there has been “a great relationship for many years and it’s going to get even stronger.”
automaker Volkswagen is partnering with the former head of Israel’s domestic intelligence agency and other former senior colleagues to form a new company, CyMotive Technologies, which will protect against threats to Internet-connected and self-driving vehicles. The company will have offices in both Herzliya, Israel and Wolfsburg, Germany. “To enable us to tackle the enormous challenges of the next decade, we need to expand our know-how in cybersecurity in order to systematically advance vehicle cybersecurity for our customers,” said Volkswagen’s head of electrical and electronic development Volkmar Tanneberger.