Joint Letter on Terrorist Activities Reporting
Beckerman: “…requiring Internet companies to provide law enforcement enormous quantities of data will not make us safer and would make it more difficult for law enforcement to find real threats.”
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Internet Association, Reform Government Surveillance, and the Internet Infrastructure Coalition sent a letter to Senate leadership calling on them to remove the controversial Section 603 from the Intelligence Authorization Bill for Fiscal Year 2016.
Section 603 creates an unworkable standard that mandates Internet companies to report facts and circumstances connected to the vague and overly broad term “terrorist activity.” The letter outlines how the provision “would result in overbroad reporting to the government, swamping law enforcement with useless information and potentially raising First Amendment concerns and privacy concerns for the user who posted the item.”
“All of our members want to eliminate terrorist activity on their platforms, and they work tirelessly to ensure that Internet platforms are being used legally,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “But requiring Internet companies to provide law enforcement enormous quantities of data will not make us safer and would make it more difficult for law enforcement to find real threats.”
“Under the cover of a closed door debate and without public input, this unworkable proposal has vast implications for Internet companies and free speech online. Section 603 creates a dangerously broad and vague reporting requirement that would subject millions of innocent users to unreasonable government surveillance. This proposal is in conflict with longstanding federal policy governing platform liability and free speech online, and should be removed from the Intelligence Authorization Bill,” Beckerman concluded.
The letter also highlights the global implications of the Section 603 proposal. “Finally, if adopted, the provision would risk serving as a global template for other countries to impose reporting requirements for activities those jurisdictions deem unlawful. This would be particularly problematic with countries that regulate speech, including political speech, and with authoritarian regimes that would demand that Internet companies police their citizens’ activities,” the letter states.
To view the letter, click here.