Terrorists and social media: A proposed law

Posted at 7:56 AM, Jan 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-06 08:37:02-05

Senator Chuck Schumer is calling on the federal government to come up with better ways to track and stop terrorists who use social media to recruit lone wolf attackers.

The U.S. House of Representatives already passed the "Combat Combat Terrorist Use Of Social Media Act Of 2015," and Schumer is asking his colleagues in the Senate to also approve the law.

The law is meant to modernize the way in which the federal government deciphers, disrupts and decodes the methods that terror groups, like ISIS, use social media to reach potential recruits.

At an event Tuesday in Rochester, N.Y., Schumer said the legislation would require federal officials to deliver the following:

  • An assessment on how social media is utilized in radical movements in the United States and abroad;
  • An evaluation on how terrorists and terrorist organizations use social media in their causes;
  • Proposals on how to combat and counter the use of social media to persuade, by terrorists and terrorist organizations;
  • Assessments of the intelligence value of terrorism in social media.

Furthermore, Schumer said the law will update the technology the U.S. government uses to scan and investigate the social media sites of those with pending visa applications and those the federal government believes are likely to plan or carry out domestic terror attacks. 

The legislation would also require the Administration to enact policy that would enhance the ability for the Executive Branch and Congress to work together with social media companies to monitor for potential terrorists. Schumer said these steps must be taken if we are going to continue to thwart attacks and gather intelligence.

“Simply put, the feds need a ‘status update’ when it comes to analyzing Facebook posts and other social media methods of terror groups, and this legislation will help get us there,” said Schumer.

Schumer referenced two recent terror-related arrests in the Rochester area, and he applauded law enforcement for thwarting a terror-related attack.

"It is clear that our law enforcement and intelligence officials are hard at work and doing a good job, but the double threat of home-grown radicals and recruitment of lone wolves via social media means we must do even more to stay ahead of these terrorists," Schumer said.




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