Skip to main content

New cybercrime bill would train police officers on how to deal with trolls

Internet Trolls
The job description for law enforcement officials has always been to protect and serve, but in our digital age, the places where this protection is most necessary have begun to evolve. As cybercrime becomes an increasing concern in the U.S. and around the world, lawmakers are considering new measures that would train policemen and women on how to address digital crime.

At this year’s annual SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, Representative Katherine Clark, a Democrat from Massachusetts, unveiled a new bill that would grant state and local law enforcement $20 million to both investigate and prosecute cybercrimes. Noting that the majority of online harassment and potentially dangerous trolling targets women, Clark also put forth a proposal for a $4 million national research center that would provide technical expertise for officials.

“We hope to raise awareness and develop local expertise for law enforcement so we are able to prosecute more of these cases,” she told Buzzfeed News.

Clark, who has long worked to bring the national spotlight on the growing issue of cybercrime, is intimately acquainted with the dangerous repercussions of this new, more aggressive form of trolling. The congresswoman was recently a victim of “swatting,” a relatively new phenomenon in which malicious actors hack official systems in order to send police officers, or sometimes even SWAT teams, to the doorsteps of unsuspecting victims.

Currently, given the newness of such crimes, Clark notes that many law enforcement officials are unaware of how best to investigate and address issues of online threats and harassment. “The FBI … clearly told us this was not a priority for them and that was a sentiment we have found to be a theme,” she told the Verge. And as such, Clark notes, there is a distinct need to “build the capacity of local law enforcement to understand the impact of these crimes and how to best investigate them.”

The future of the bill is yet to be determined, but as instances of cybercrime continue to grow, it seems that such a measure may soon become a necessity.

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
Why AI will never rule the world
image depicting AI, with neurons branching out from humanoid head

Call it the Skynet hypothesis, Artificial General Intelligence, or the advent of the Singularity -- for years, AI experts and non-experts alike have fretted (and, for a small group, celebrated) the idea that artificial intelligence may one day become smarter than humans.

According to the theory, advances in AI -- specifically of the machine learning type that's able to take on new information and rewrite its code accordingly -- will eventually catch up with the wetware of the biological brain. In this interpretation of events, every AI advance from Jeopardy-winning IBM machines to the massive AI language model GPT-3 is taking humanity one step closer to an existential threat. We're literally building our soon-to-be-sentient successors.

Read more
The best hurricane trackers for Android and iOS in 2022
Truck caught in gale force winds.

Hurricane season strikes fear into the hearts of those who live in its direct path, as well as distanced loved ones who worry for their safety. If you've ever sat up all night in a state of panic for a family member caught home alone in the middle of a destructive storm, dependent only on intermittent live TV reports for updates, a hurricane tracker app is a must-have tool. There are plenty of hurricane trackers that can help you prepare for these perilous events, monitor their progress while underway, and assist in recovery. We've gathered the best apps for following storms, predicting storm paths, and delivering on-the-ground advice for shelter and emergency services. Most are free to download and are ad-supported. Premium versions remove ads and add additional features.

You may lose power during a storm, so consider purchasing a portable power source,  just in case. We have a few handy suggestions for some of the best portable generators and power stations available. 

Read more
Don’t buy the Meta Quest Pro for gaming. It’s a metaverse headset first
Meta Quest Pro enables 3D modeling in mixed reality.

Last week’s Meta Connect started off promising on the gaming front. Viewers got release dates for Iron Man VR, an upcoming Quest game that was previously a PS VR exclusive, as well as Among Us VR. Meta, which owns Facebook, also announced that it was acquiring three major VR game studios -- Armature Studio, Camouflaj Team, and Twisted Pixel -- although we don’t know what they’re working on just yet.

Unfortunately, that’s where the Meta Connect's gaming section mostly ended. Besides tiny glimpses and a look into fitness, video games were not the show's focus. Instead, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wanted to focus on what seemed to be his company’s real vision of VR's future, which involves a lot of legs and a lot of work with the Quest Pro, a mixed reality headset that'll cost a whopping $1,500.

Read more