A new bill repurposes the war on terror’s pro-snitching mantra by requiring that tech companies share user data with the federal government.
by Elizabeth Nolan Brown
The popular post-9/11 slogan “See Something, Say Something” is getting a digital makeover in Congress. A bill introduced by Sens. Joe Manchin (D–W. Va.) and John Cornyn (R–Texas) would repurpose the war on terror’s pro-snitching mantra by requiring that tech companies monitor their customers more closely and share user data with the federal government. The bill, dubbed the See Something, Say Something Online Act, also would let people report “suspicious” social media posts and any other content they don’t like directly to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
A new DOJ office would handle these “suspicious transmission activity reports” (STARs). The tips would be exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests, and tech companies would not be allowed to publicly acknowledge or discuss the information reported.