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Axios Mar 22
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Congress passes protection for young sex-trafficking victims

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An anti-trafficking billboard in Mounds View, Minnesota. Photo: Education Images / UIG via Getty Images

"Congress has overwhelmingly passed legislation meant to curb online sex trafficking of children. This means a first major change in years to a key legal shield used by Internet companies to avoid liability for what people say and do online," NPR's Alina Selyukh reports. The vote in the Senate was a landslide, 97-2, and President Trump is now expected to sign it.

Why it matters: "[C]hild protection groups hope that at least it will give victims more opportunities to get justice in courts against websites that knowingly facilitate the crime. ... [T]his is the first major cutback to the protections that [tech] companies have had under the law."

What it does, from Reuters: "The legislation ... [makes] it easier for state prosecutors and sex-trafficking victims to sue social media networks, advertisers and others that failed to keep exploitative material off their platforms."

  • "Law enforcement has lobbied for years for such a law, an effort which resulted in part from a crackdown on backpage.com."
  • Big Tech fought against the bill — then folded, Axios' David McCabe reports.

Go deeper: Fed-up Congress considers making it easier to sue Big Social

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Haley Britzky 5 hours ago
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Extremist with ties to 9/11 captured by U.S.-backed Syrian forces

Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stand guard on a rooftop.
Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces stand guard on a rooftop in Raqa on October 20, 2017. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

Mohammed Haydar Zammar, a Syrian-born German extremist who is believed to have links to the 9/11 attacks, is being questioned by the Syrian Democratic Forces, NBC reported Wednesday, citing an AFP report, and CNN confirmed on Thursday.

Why it matters: Per CNN, Zammar "is believed to have recruited some of the perpetrators" for the 9/11 attacks. Zammar was "a well-known figure in the Muslim community (and to German and U.S. intelligence agencies by the late 1990s)," the 9/11 Commission Report stated, according to NBC. Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told CNN that Zammar "was captured more than a month ago by SDF partners as part of their ongoing operations to defeat ISIS inside Syria."