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Biden Administration

President Biden Signs the Missing Children’s Assistance Reauthorization Act of 2023 into Law

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WASHINGTON – Today, President Biden signed the Missing Children’s Assistance Reauthorization Act of 2023 into law, marking a significant effort by the Senate Judiciary Committee to protect children online. The bipartisan bill, sponsored by U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), renews funding for the Missing Children’s Assistance Act (MCAA) through Fiscal Year 2028 and updates the statute concerning the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Key Highlights of the Act

Funding Renewal and Updates:

  • Reauthorization: The Act renews funding for the Missing Children’s Assistance Act through 2028.
  • Funding Amount: It authorizes $49.3 million per year, with $41.5 million allocated to NCMEC.

Enhanced Support and Services:

  • Support for Families: Expands NCMEC’s ability to provide support services to families with missing or exploited children.
  • Background Checks: Permits NCMEC to provide technical assistance on background checks for individuals working with children.
  • State-sponsored Care Reporting: Requires the reporting of information about children missing from state-sponsored care.

Modernization Efforts:

  • CSAM Removal Program: Codifies a program to facilitate requests to remove child sexual abuse material (CSAM) from online platforms.

Statements from Key Senators

Senator Dick Durbin:
“The horrors of the Internet are every parent’s worst nightmare. NCMEC is an invaluable lifeline, handling 100,000 CyberTips daily about child sexual exploitation. This reauthorization strengthens these critical programs.”

Senator Lindsey Graham:
“NCMEC is crucial for child protection. This bipartisan legislation ensures NCMEC’s vital programs continue.”

Legislative Journey

The Senate passed the bill by unanimous vote on July 28, 2023. The House, led by Representatives Aaron Bean (R-FL-04), Joe Courtney (D-CT-02), Virginia Foxx (R-NC-05), and Bobby Scott (D-VA-03), passed an amended version on April 9, 2024. The Senate approved this version on June 5.

Reactions from House Representatives

Representative Aaron Bean:
“As a father, I understand the pain of a missing or exploited child. This bill modernizes reporting systems to quickly find missing children and support families.”

Representative Joe Courtney:
“Reauthorizing the MCAA provides critical resources to NCMEC to protect children and support families in today’s digital age.”

Representative Virginia Foxx:
“This issue transcends politics. The reauthorization allows NCMEC to continue its vital work in protecting the most vulnerable children.”

Representative Bobby Scott:
“Reauthorizing NCMEC’s grant program ensures it has the necessary tools to protect and support exploited children, providing hope for affected families.”

NCMEC’s Role and Impact

NCMEC, a private non-profit organization, collaborates with families, law enforcement, and the public to prevent child abductions, recover missing children, and combat child sexual exploitation. Key programs include:

  • 24-Hour Hotline: A national toll-free hotline for missing child reports.
  • CyberTipline: A centralized reporting system for online child exploitation.
  • Child Victim Identification Program: A clearinghouse for identifying and locating children depicted in CSAM.

From 1,380 daily CyberTips in 2013 to 100,000 in 2023, NCMEC’s workload has exponentially increased, underscoring the importance of this reauthorization.

Conclusion

The Missing Children’s Assistance Reauthorization Act of 2023 fortifies the efforts to protect children from online exploitation and support affected families. By ensuring NCMEC has the resources and capabilities to address these challenges, the legislation marks a crucial step in safeguarding the most vulnerable members of society.

SOURCE: SENATE JUDICIARY REPORT

Biden Administration

Former Obama-Biden Advisor Claims “The First Amendment Is Out of Control,” Hinders Government Action

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In a controversial opinion piece published recently, Tim Wu, an advisor to both the Obama and Biden administrations, argued that the First Amendment is becoming a significant obstacle to effective governance. The essay, titled “The First Amendment is Out of Control,” has sparked widespread debate and criticism.

Wu’s argument centers on the assertion that the First Amendment, designed to protect free speech, is now being exploited by powerful entities, including Big Tech companies, to resist regulation and oversight. He cites recent Supreme Court rulings regarding Texas and Florida laws aimed at regulating social media platforms as examples of this exploitation.

According to Wu, the collaboration between the government and major social media platforms is often hindered by the First Amendment, which is used as a defense to protect free speech in digital public forums. He suggests that this constitutional protection is being misused to prevent necessary government action aimed at safeguarding citizens.

Critics, however, argue that Wu’s perspective misinterprets the fundamental purpose of the First Amendment. They contend that the amendment’s role is precisely to protect citizens from government overreach and censorship, ensuring that free speech remains a cornerstone of democracy. The idea that the First Amendment is an obstacle rather than a protector is seen by many as a dangerous and misguided interpretation.

Furthermore, Wu’s essay touches on the issue of banning platforms like TikTok and implementing age verification laws, such as California’s Age-Appropriate Design Code. He suggests that the First Amendment stands in the way of these actions, which he believes are necessary for national security and protecting minors online. Critics counter that these measures, if implemented, could set precedents for broader and potentially harmful censorship practices.

Wu’s reference to the First Amendment as a “suicide pact,” borrowing language from a 1949 dissenting opinion in the Terminiello v. City of Chicago case, underscores the dramatic tone of his argument. He suggests that the amendment, while intended to safeguard freedoms, can also be interpreted in ways that undermine societal safety and security.

In conclusion, Tim Wu’s essay has reignited the debate over the balance between free speech and governmental regulation. While Wu argues that the First Amendment’s current application hinders effective governance and protection of citizens, his critics maintain that the amendment is essential for safeguarding democratic principles and preventing government overreach. As this debate continues, the interpretation and application of the First Amendment remain at the forefront of discussions about free speech and public safety in the digital age.

SOURCE: NEW YORK TIMES

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Biden Administration

DHS and FBI Issue Warning About Large Fourth of July Events as ‘Attractive’ Targets for

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a warning on Wednesday regarding potential threats to large Fourth of July celebrations. According to an internal bulletin obtained by ABC News, these events are considered “attractive” targets for lone offenders and small groups with malicious intentions.

The bulletin emphasizes the risk posed by individuals and small groups who might exploit the gatherings for terrorism or other harmful activities. The warning comes as the nation prepares for Independence Day festivities, which traditionally draw large crowds to public spaces.

The FBI and DHS are urging local law enforcement and event organizers to increase vigilance and security measures. The agencies highlight the importance of public awareness and cooperation, encouraging individuals to report any suspicious activities immediately.

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Biden Administration

Biden is 7 Times More Popular with Ukrainians than Trump, Poll Reveals

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In a recent poll conducted by The Counteroffensive/Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, President Joe Biden emerges as significantly more popular among Ukrainians compared to former President Donald Trump. This inaugural poll offers insights into Ukrainian sentiment towards American leadership during their ongoing conflict with Russia.

According to The Hill, a striking 46.7 percent of Ukrainian respondents expressed a preference for President Biden as the leader they believe would better support Ukraine’s war effort. In contrast, only 6.5 percent of those polled favored Trump in this regard.

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