The follow of swatting—meaning, reporting faux threats at an individual else’s location with the hopes of inciting a main reaction like a SWAT team visit—has expanded in current years many thanks to variables this kind of as the rise of phone-masking solutions and World wide web communities egging the act on. But the federal government’s deficiency of specific anti-swatting rules hasn’t helped, which is why Agent Katherine Clark (D-MA) proposed the Interstate Swatting Hoax Act on Wednesday.
“Whilst federal law prohibits employing the telecommunications program to falsely report a bomb danger hoax or a terrorist attack, falsely reporting other emergency circumstances is not at the moment prohibited,” Clark wrote in her announcement of the invoice. As these kinds of, her bill employs wide-yet-particular language to punish any person who “uses a telecommunications system, the mails, or any other facility of interstate or foreign commerce to knowingly transmit untrue or deceptive details indicating that perform has taken, is taking, or will consider spot that could reasonably be considered to constitute a violation of any State or Federal legal law, or endanger public well being or security.”
According to this invoice, the amount of federal jail time for an offense varies primarily based on whether a federal government company is mobilized thanks to the false report, and whether someone is injured or killed as a end result. Offenders will also be compelled to “reimburse any celebration for expenses for an emergency response.”