As a leader in fighting all forms of hate on the ground and online, ADL Texas worked with legislative partners in Texas to introduce swatting legislation aimed at addressing online hate and harassment while providing targets of online abuse the necessary recourse to hold perpetrators accountable. On Friday, June 18, Governor Greg Abbott signed SB1056 into law.
Swatting is the malicious creation of a 9-1-1 hoax, typically involving false reports of hostages, gunfire, or other acts of extreme violence with the goal of sending emergency responders to a target’s residence or workplace. The goal of swatting is to weaponize emergency response systems to harass and intimidate innocent individuals. The bill updates Texas law to protect our communities and account for swatting behaviors.
“We are grateful to Governor Abbott for signing SB 1056, to Texas Senator Joan Huffman for introducing it and to Texas Representative Gene Wu for carrying the bill through the House,” said Mark B. Toubin, ADL Southwest Regional Director. “This law protects targets of online hate by holding accountable individuals who seek to weaponize law enforcement to attack others, especially marginalized communities.”
The bill and its signing also represents another victory for ADL’s Backspace Hate™Initiative, which supports victims and targets of online hate and harassment by raising awareness and passing legislation to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions online.
According to ADL’s survey Online Hate and Harassment: The American Experience 2021, 81% of Americans agree that laws should be strengthened to hold perpetrators of online hate accountable for their conduct. This bill not only gives prosecutors the tools to address the serious act of swatting but empowers victims of this digital hate.
For more information or to set up an interview, contact Dena Marks at 832-567-8843.