WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) reintroduced their See Something, Say Something Online Act to stop the illicit sale of opioids and other drugs online by amending Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to require companies report illegal activity on their online platforms.
“High-level drug offenses, violent crimes like murder, and even acts of terrorism are documented online, and it’s past time that technology platforms play a role in standing up for the victims of these types of crimes by saying something when they see something,” said Sen. Cornyn. “By requiring technology platforms to file reports when they become aware that a major crime has been committed, this legislation keeps platforms accountable and helps authorities deliver justice.”
“The Internet has drastically changed since Section 230 was written in 1996 and while it keeps us all more connected than ever before, it also makes it easier to conduct illegal activity online. Each year, authorities seize enough fentanyl to kill every American four times over, much of it ordered over the Internet and sent by mail from China,” said Sen. Manchin. “We must amend Section 230 to better reflect the way the Internet impacts our lives today – both good and bad. Senator Cornyn and I reintroduced our bipartisan legislation that uses a commonsense approach to create a clear mechanism for reporting criminal activity online, requiring companies to take reasonable steps to report unlawful activity or be held liable for that failure. Congress has failed to keep up with a quickly changing Internet and it is past time we held these sites accountable.”
The See Something, Say Something Online Act would change Section 230 by:
- Requiring companies to report suspicious activity to law enforcement, similar to the way that banks are required to report suspicious transactions over $10,000 or others that might signal criminal activity.
- Creating a system similar to the Bank Secrecy Act by authorizing the creation of an office within the Department of Justice (DOJ) to act as the clearinghouse for these reports, similar to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) within the Department of Treasury.
- Raising the threshold for reporting to serious crimes like illegal drug sales, hate crimes, murder, or terrorism to ensure that users’ privacy remains safe.
- Requiring that companies must take reasonable steps to prevent or address unlawful activity and can be held liable if they fail to report criminal activity.
The See Something, Say Something Online Act is endorsed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies.
Bill text can be found here.