* From a press release…
State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-13th) has introduced legislation cracking down on violent “flash mobs” and requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to cooperate with law enforcement to help track down instigators. In recent incidents in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and in the Loop, large groups of young people shoplifted from retailers and assaulted and robbed passersby. Social networking websites such as Twitter allowed them to coordinate their efforts.
“The ability to coordinate a mob action online gives criminals two key advantages: surprise and large numbers,” Raoul said. “State law can support police efforts by helping them use one of the criminals’ tools — social media — against them.”
Senate Bill 1005 would require ISPs to provide identifying information, including the location from which a tweet or other message was sent, to law enforcement once they show probable cause to believe a mob action has been or is being facilitated via the Internet. ISPs could be fined for failure to comply.
Raoul’s measure also would allow a judge to impose an extended sentence for offenses related to criminal mob activity if the perpetrator used electronic communications to organize the mob.
“Criminal flash mobs discourage tourism and create an environment of fear and uncertainty for businesses,” said Marc Gordon, president of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association. “Our hotel members and their guests will sleep easier knowing these criminal acts can be detected and deterred in the planning stage.”
The full text of Raoul’s proposal is here.
Thoughts on this bill?