Sunday, February 1, 2015

HR 623 Introduced – Social Media Group

On Friday, during a proforma session of the House, Rep. Brooks (R,IN) introduced HR 623, the Social Media Working Group Act of 2015. This bill would require the Secretary of DHS to establish a working group to advise on the use of social media. This is nearly identical to HR 4263 that was passed in the House last year, but was not taken up by the Senate.

The bill would add §318 to Title III of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 USC Subchapter III). It would require the Secretary to establish the working group under the direction of the Under Secretary of Science and Technology. The group would “provide guidance and best practices to the emergency preparedness and response community on the use of social media technologies before, during, and after a terrorist attack or other emergency” {§318(b)}.

There is an important difference between this bill and the one introduced in the last session. It corrects a problem that I identified in my post about that bill in that it adds the words “or other emergency” in the description of the purpose of the use of social media. Whether or not this would have any practical effect on the guidance produced by the working group is probably a moot point, but it may have an effect on the dissemination of the guidance.

The one short coming of this bill is that there is no specific mechanism described for sharing this information with the emergency response community. The working group is required to report annually to Congress {§318(g)}, but those reports are typically hard for the public to access and are seldom pushed out to the affected communities.

This bill is already scheduled for a vote on the floor of the House on Monday. I expect that it will pass with a largely bipartisan vote. The chances of it being taken up in the Senate are much better this session. It will almost certainly be taken up there under their ‘unanimous consent’ process.

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */