January 30, 2023
Manchin, Cornyn Reintroduce Bill to Require Companies Report Illicit Online Drug Sales
Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Cornyn (R-TX) reintroduced the 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 to report illegal activity on their online platforms.
“Last year alone, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized enough fentanyl to kill every American, much of it ordered over the Internet and sent by mail from China. The Internet has drastically changed since Section 230 was written in 1996, nearly 30 years ago, and while it keeps us all more connected than ever before, it also makes it easier to conduct illegal activity online,” said Senator 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. It is past time we held these sites accountable.”
“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 Senator 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 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.
Background information on the See Something, Say Something Online Act can be found here.
Bill text can be found here.
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