Press Releases


 

For the millions of women and girls who use the internet every day to navigate their jobs and personal lives, online abuse is not only emotionally devastating, but it also curtails their professional choices and their full participation in the economy. In an era when 80 percent of companies conduct internet searches on job candidates, women simply cannot afford to not be online.

Congresswoman Katherine Clark has championed combatting severe online threats and abuse.

In May of 2015, she successfully earned the U.S. House’s backing to instruct the Department of Justice to investigate severe online threats, and to use existing laws to prosecute these crimes. 

The following is a list of proposals introduced by Clark to combat severe online threats and online abuse:

Prioritizing Online Threats Enforcement Act (HR 2602)
Prioritizing Online Threats Enforcement Act is legislation that compels the Department of Justice (DOJ) to enforce laws prohibiting online violence against women and to ensure protections for victims of severe online threats. Recently, at Clark’s urging, the U.S. House instructed the DOJ to intensify investigation and prosecution of these crimes. The Prioritizing Online Threat Enforcement Act gives the Department of Justice and the FBI resources and a mandate to investigate and enforce the existing federal laws regarding threats. More...

Interstate Swatting Hoax Act (HR 4057)
Interstate Swatting Hoax Act of 2015 is legislation to combat attacks known as swatting. Swatting is defined as the intentional misleading of emergency responders in order to provoke a S.W.A.T. team response. In recent years, swatting has become a widely used tool for online harassers to attack journalists, academics, domestic violence survivors, and celebrities. Perpetrators locate victims’ private information online and use technology to conceal their identity as they contact emergency responders .While federal law prohibits using the telecommunications system to falsely report a bomb threat hoax or a terrorist attack, falsely reporting other emergency situations is not currently prohibited. The Interstate Swatting Hoax Act would close this loophole by prohibiting the use of the interstate telecommunications system to knowingly transmit false information with the intent to cause an emergency law enforcement response. More...

Cybercrime Enforcement Training Assistance Act (HR 4740)
Cybercrime Enforcement Training Assistance Act is legislation that gives local law enforcement the tools necessary to prevent and prosecute criminal online threats and harassment. Targets of online abuse are frequently subjected to threats of rape, murder, and harm to their families; many have their personal information publicly released. Studies indicate that women, people of color, and members of the LGBT community are disproportionately affected by online threats of violence, with women receiving threats and harassment at a rate 27 times greater than men. Victims regularly report that, although well intentioned, law enforcement does not have training or resources to investigate and respond to to online crimes. More... 

Interstate Sextortion Prevention Act (HR 5749)
The Interstate Sextotion Prevention Act is legislation that makes online sexual extortion a federal crime. Sextortion is defined as the use of extortion and threats to coerce sexual activity. Perpetrators often hack into personal devices to find intimate images or coerce victims to share sexually explicit content. The threat of exposure is used by the offender as leverage to demand an escalation of degrading and sometimes unimaginable sexual acts. Earlier this year, the non-partisan think tank Brookings Institutio nunderscored the growing prevalence of online sexual extortion, its disproportionate impact on women and children, and gaps in federal law. The bill makes it a federal crime to use threats to cause another person to produce sexually explicit content or engage in sexual activity against their will. It would also criminalize the use of sexually explicit content to extort for personal gain. More...

Cybercrime Statistics Act (HR 6002)
The Cybercrime Statistics Act is legislation aimed at reforming the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) approach to addressing severe online threats, cyberstalking, online sexual extortion, swattingdoxing, and other forms of online abuse and cybercrimes. The Cybercrimes Statistics Act would require the Department of Justice to collect data on various forms of online crimes by adding cybercrimes to the FBI’s crime reporting databases. In addition, the bill would require the Attorney General to create a national strategy to reduce the occurrence of these crimes. More...