Legislation encourages Big Tech to take online child sexual exploitation seriously
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) today reintroduced bipartisan legislation to encourage the tech industry to take online child sexual exploitation seriously.
The Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act (EARN IT Act) removes blanket immunity for violations of laws related to online child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
“There are tens of millions of photos and videos circulating throughout the internet, showing the most heinous acts of sexual abuse and torture of children,” said Ranking Member Graham. “The EARN IT Act removes Section 230 blanket liability protection from service providers in the area of child sexual abuse material on their sites. To all the victim groups and law enforcement entities urging Congress to do something about the scourge of child sexual abuse material and the exploitation of children on the internet: we hear you. The days of children being exploited on the internet and their families being unable to do anything about it are coming to an end.”
“The EARN IT Act imposes basic accountability on tech companies that are complicit in the sexual abuse and exploitation of children,” said Blumenthal. “The internet is infested with millions images of children who have been brutally assaulted and exploited, and who are haunted by a lifetime of pain after these photographs and videos are circulated online. This problem is simply too big to throw money at – tech companies must take responsibility for eliminating child sexual abuse material on their own platforms, or be held accountable.”
Highlights of the EARN IT Act:
Background on the EARN IT Act:
The EARN IT Act is supported by more than 150 groups, survivors and stakeholders, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), Rights4Girls, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, National District Attorneys Association, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, International Justice Mission, and Major Cities Chiefs Association.
The legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), Mark Warner (D-Virginia), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee).
Representatives Ann Wagner (R-Missouri) and Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas) will introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
Full text of the bill is available HERE.