H.R. 739 would codify the roles and responsibilities of an existing office of the Department of State that advances U.S. interests in cyberspace and promotes open, reliable, and secure communications technology. The bill also would require the department to report to the Congress on the following issues:
Executive agreements on cyberspace policy made with other countries;
Updates to an existing international policy on cyberspace; and
Efforts by foreign governments to restrict freedom of expression through electronic means.
The department indicated that implementing H.R. 739 would not change the current policies and practices of the office and thus would not increase its costs.
In addition, the act would require the U.S. Government Accountability Office to assess and report to the Congress on the extent to which international actors threaten the personal information of U.S. citizens and the Department of State’s efforts to protect such personal information.
Using information about the costs of similar reports, CBO estimates that satisfying the reporting requirements in H.R. 739 would cost less than $500,000 each year and total $1 million over the 2019‑2024 period; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.