Post submitted by Remington A. Gregg, former HRC Legislative Counsel

Methods of communicating sentiments of love – and hate – have grown exponentially in twenty years.  That’s why Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) today introduced the Hate Crime Reporting Act of 2014.  The bill directs the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to update its important 1993 report on "The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes." For example, the 1993 report focused on services like “computer bulletin boards” and “telephone hotlines” that could be used to disseminate hateful messages. Now, LGBT people – and most vulnerably – LGBT teens, have to guard against the Internet, mobile technology, and cyberbullying.

The new report would once again review the role of telecommunications in hate crimes.  By updating the report, the NTIA can augment the record with current data and information in a way that will raise awareness about the depth and impact of hate speech across all media platforms.  The report will also include any recommendations that Congress should consider – consistent with the First Amendment – to guard against proliferation of hate in telecomm-unications. 

More than 40 organizations, including HRC, have announced their support for the bill.  While this report wouldn’t stop hate crimes, it would give lawmakers and advocates much needed new information on the role that telecommunications play in incidents of hate speech which can lead to hate violence.

We commend Congressman Jefferies for his leadership and urge the House (and subsequently, the Senate) to quickly consider this legislation.

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