Legislation requiring tech industry to report terrorist activity may be revived

The provision was dropped previously after opposition from lawmakers and the tech industry

Legislation requiring tech companies to report on terrorist activity on their platforms is likely to be revived in the U.S., following concerns about the widespread use of Internet communications by terrorists.

A proposed rule that would require companies to report vaguely defined "terrorist activity" on their platforms had been included as section 603 in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016.

But Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, removed a hold on the bill only after the controversial provision was deleted from it.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California and vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is now planning to introduce legislation  that would make it mandatory for social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, to alert federal officials about online terrorist activity, according to reports citing a spokesman. Feinstein's office could not be immediately reached for comment.

On Sunday, President Barack Obama said that he would urge high-tech companies to make it more difficult for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice. His address from the Oval Office came after two attackers, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people and injured 21 others in a gun attack in San Bernardino, California.

Increasing concern about the use of social media by terrorists to communicate, coordinate attacks and win over supporters is likely to put pressure on tech companies to cooperate with law enforcement, including by pulling down content considered controversial. Obama said there were growing efforts by terrorists to poison the minds of people as the distance between countries gets erased by the Internet.

The previous section 603 would have required Internet companies that obtained "actual knowledge of any terrorist activity" to provide the relevant "facts or circumstances" of the alleged activities to the government. The provision was opposed by the tech industry and civil rights groups, because the definition of terrorist activity was too broad and could result in "overbroad reporting" with serious privacy implications for the person posting the items.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

More about FacebookTwitter

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John Ribeiro

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place