With gun control off-limits, politicians want tech sector to fight terror

(credit: Whitehouse.gov)

Last week, a San Bernardino couple armed with two .223-caliber assault rifles and two 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistols killed 14 people. And the very next day, the Senate voted against a measure that would have barred gun sales to people on federal terror watchlists. Another gun-control measure to expand background checks at gun shows and for online purchases also failed that same afternoon.

It was political theater at its finest, as the votes came as part of GOP legislation to repeal Obamacare and gut Planned Parenthood funding. So with gun control clearly off-limits, lawmakers are directing their attention to social media as a method to combat domestic terrorism.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday will debate legislation (PDF) called the "Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act." Among other things, the measure requires a White House "policy that enhances the exchange of information and dialogue between the Federal Government and social media companies as it relates to the use of social media platforms by terrorists." What's more, the bill demands "a comprehensive strategy to counter terrorists' and terrorist organizations' use of social media."

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