McCaul, Langevin Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Thwart Domestic Terror Attacks on Anniversary of El Paso Tragedy
Today, Congressman Jim Langevin (RI-2) and I announced the introduction of the Protecting America through Information Sharing Act. This bipartisan legislation empowers the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to designate a clearinghouse responsible for receiving online threats of imminent violence from social media companies and disseminating them to appropriate law enforcement to halt violent attacks before they happen. By fostering the relationship between social media companies and law enforcement, this bill will streamline the transfer of information on threats of violence to save lives whether the intent is harm oneself or others.
As we reflect on the one-year anniversary of the tragic EL Paso shooting, we must not forget those who lost their lives. Directly after the El Paso shooting, I started to work with stakeholders on a solution to prevent such violence. Many incidents of violence over the past several years – including the El Paso shooting – could have been prevented if there was an efficient way to flag social media postings with the appropriate law enforcement agency – be it federal, state, or local. With this enhanced capability, our nation will be better equipped to not only thwart cowardice acts of terror but also save lives. By solidifying a stronger partnership between social media companies and law enforcement, we can expedite the sharing of information to intercept at risk individuals before an attempt on one’s own life or another devastating act of domestic terrorism or like El Paso occurs again.
“I am proud to join Representative McCaul in pushing for voluntary collaboration between law enforcement and social media to protect our citizens,” said Congressman Langevin, a senior member of the Committee on Homeland Security. “Relationships between government and social media companies have been strained, but we need to bring them together to actually lessen the threat of violent crime. In a time of such divisiveness, I hope that bipartisan and constructive endeavors such as this one will form part of the solutions, we need to take care of each other.”
The Protecting America through Information Sharing Act:
- Directs DHS to design and establish a pilot program for the facilitation of sharing information on threats of imminent violence between social media companies and law enforcement
- Accelerates the sharing of threats of imminent violence by designating one centralized clearinghouse charged with receiving, analyzing, and disseminating threat information to the appropriate law enforcement
- Protects civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy by requiring DHS to consult with social media companies, civil rights and civil liberties groups to create a guiding framework that ensures the protection of people’s inherent rights prior to the establishment of the program
Click here for the full bill text.