(Washington) The US Attorney General on Wednesday backed congressional efforts to force tech companies to crack down on the sale of fentanyl on their platforms.
“We have to do something to force them to deliver information, to search their own platforms to see if illegal drugs are sold there,” Merrick Garland said during a Senate hearing.
For several hours, the minister was manhandled by elected Republicans who accuse the Democratic government of President Joe Biden of having fueled the opiate crisis by “opening the border” with Mexico and of not taking the full measure of the problem.
More than “106,000 people died of overdoses last year, including 70,000 from fentanyl,” recalled Senator Lindsey Graham, accusing the Mexican cartels of flooding the United States with this synthetic opiate 50 times more powerful than heroin.
“We don’t take their crime seriously enough”, “we have to beef up our game”, he pleaded.
“I agree on the horror of the situation,” replied Merrick Garland. The cartels create counterfeit pills, which look like legal drugs, and cut them with fentanyl in fatal doses, before “selling them on social media like drugs,” he explained.
“You clearly have our support for ways to force tech companies, whether civil or criminal, to remove these things from their platforms, to search them, not to use algorithms to recommend them,” he added.
Senators from both parties introduced a bill in December to force internet companies, which today enjoy broad legal immunity, to report to law enforcement the traffic that has occurred on their platforms under penalty of fines.