The bill creates targeted exceptions to Section 230, imposing basic accountability on tech companies for child sexual abuse material on their platforms
WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on a bipartisan basis to advance the EARN IT Act to the full Senate. Sponsored by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the bill creates accountability for Big Tech’s enabling of sexual abuse material and exploitation on its platforms and lays the foundation for victims to seek justice in court.
On the EARN IT Act’s successful vote, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said: “The EARN IT Act is just the first piece of legislation that this Committee seeks to advance to hold Big Tech accountable for its role enabling the most egregious conduct on its platforms. The bill lays the framework for victims of sexual abuse material and exploitation to have their day in court, as well as imposes basic accountability on tech companies by removing blanket immunity.”
On the Senate Judiciary Committee’s continued work to protect children online, Durbin said: “I said at the beginning of this Congress: this Committee will help protect kids’ online safety. Our February hearing on children’s online safety showed a real bipartisan willingness to act. This is bill is the first to advance to the full Senate from our Stopping the Exploitation of Kids Online legislative package, and we will keep working to protect our kids online.”
The EARN IT Act, as amended, creates targeted exceptions to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 to remove blanket immunity from civil and criminal liability under child sexual abuse material laws and establishes a National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention. The legislation is supported by more than 150 groups, survivors, and stakeholders and has passed the Committee unanimously in the past two Congresses.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has noticed its intent to markup four other pieces of legislation as part of the Stopping the Exploitation of Kids Online package: the STOP CSAM Act of 2023 (Durbin), Cooper Davis Act (Marshall, Shaheen), SHIELD Act of 2023 (Klobuchar, Cornyn), and Project Safe Childhood Act (Cornyn, Klobuchar).
On April 19, Durbin unveiled the Stopping the Exploitation of Kids Online legislative package on the Senate floor. In February, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled, “Protecting Our Children Online,” which included powerful testimony from those working to increase children’s privacy and safety online.
In addition to the EARN IT Act, the Committee voted to advance three nominees to the full Senate by the indicated vote totals:
An archived video of today’s hearing can be found here.