NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Despite Law, Bomb-Making Instructions Still Available On Net

January 18, 2001

In August 1999, Congress took steps to curb the availability of bomb-making recipes on the Internet. But 18 months later, the instructions are still there and teenagers, among others, are still clicking onto them to make and later detonate bombs. The law has been a dud.

  • Federal prosecutors have yet to record a single prosecution under the statute -- which mandates up to 20 years in prison for anyone who distributes bomb-making material knowing or intending that the information be used for a crime.
  • Websites, chat rooms and online bulletin boards containing instructions for making bombs continue to flourish.
  • Thomas Warren, the supervisory agent of the FBI's Bomb Data Center, says the agency doesn't even bother to monitor bomb-making websites.
  • Police say that showing criminal intent -- especially before any crime has been committed -- is all but impossible.

A group of bombing victims and others are trying to persuade Internet companies to crack down on the instructional material.

Source: David Armstrong, "Bomb Recipes Flourish Online Despite New Law," Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2001.


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