CHICAGO – State Rep. Jaime Andrade Jr., D-Chicago, will lead an effort to crack down on extremism in the cybersphere as lead of the new House Social Media and Online Extremism Working Group. Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch assigned Andrade to the group to create policy that keeps up with the changing internet dynamics that affect online extremism and its resulting real-world violence.
“The 4th of July shooting in Highland Park is one of too many examples of online radicalization having deadly consequences,” Andrade said. “There are too many opportunities to be radicalized on the internet, and public policy has not kept pace with the rapid change going on. As the leader of this working group, I am determined to work with my colleagues to get a better understanding of this problem and create policy recommendations that can help keep our communities safe.”
Andrade’s working group will be charged with creating holistic, proactive, and effective legislative solutions to the growing issue of online extremism, and how that intersects with mental health and gun violence. Andrade will be joined by Reps. Carol Ammons, Jonathan Carroll, Daniel Didech, Edgar Gonzalez, Stephanie A. Kifowit, Lamont Robinson, Curtis Tarver, and Michael Zalewski.
Andrade is a longtime advocate for internet safety, having recently sponsored House Bill 3731 which establishes stricter cybersecurity and internet safety measures, preventing attacks and misuse of data.
“This issue in front of us is complex and ill-understood,” Andrade said. “Too often, through the course of law enforcement’s investigations after violent attacks, do we find that there were clear signs of a person who had been radicalized online. We have to act now to preserve the safety of our communities.”
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