US passes .gov migration legislation

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 12 January, 2021

US passes .gov migration legislation

The US government has passed the DotGov Online Trust in Government Act to expand adoption of the .gov top level domain and improve the cybersecurity of state and local government websites.

The new legislation sets requirements for the use of the .gov domain instead of alternatives such as .com for official government websites, in part to make it more difficult for fraudsters to spoof government websites and impersonate government officials.

In addition, the Act provides support services, security enhancements and dedicated outreach to help state, local, territorial and tribal governments to adopt the .gov domain.

As part of the new regime, authority over the .gov domain will be transferred from the General Services Administration to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

The Act also requires that the director of CISA begin operationally administering the .gov domain and publish registration requirements within 120 days of enactment.

The director will also be responsible for reporting on outreach to state and local governments to migrate to .gov domains within one year of enactment of the legislation, and for collecting information on the use of domain suffixes by various levels of government.

Meanwhile, the legislation authorises the use of Homeland Security Grant funds for the adoption of the .gov domain and authorises the director of CISA to waive any fees associated with migration to the domain.

The National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) has welcomed the passage of the legislation, noting that the increased adoption of the .gov domain was a legislative priority for its members in 2020.

“Adoption of the .gov domain is one of the simplest steps that governments can take to strengthen their cybersecurity posture and sends a message to the user that the domain is legitimate, secure and trusted,” NASCIO President and New Hampshire CIO Denis Goulet said.

“With rampant misinformation and disinformation campaigns from issues ranging from elections to COVID-19, it is paramount that citizens receive accurate and trusted information from government websites. NASCIO looks forward to continuing our collaboration with federal partners on the implementation of this new law.”

Image credit: © Rudyi

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