Senate Judiciary Advances Measure To Give Government Greater Control Over Online Content, Opens Risks For Online Security Through Patchwork Of State Laws

BY Heather Greenfield
July 2, 2020

Washington — The Senate Judiciary Committee took a step toward approving legislation, S. 3398, the “Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies” (EARNIT) Act, which would weaken the law companies rely upon to address objectionable activity online, commonly referred to as Section 230.

In March, when the bill was introduced, the Computer & Communications Industry Association sent a joint letter alerting members of Congress to the collateral dangers of altering the law that gives internet companies legal certainty to remove nefarious and illegal content. CCIA reiterated concerns about the bill’s defects in a joint letter this week.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:

“Digital services are committed to fighting online misconduct. Exposing private companies to liability for their efforts to identify, remove, and turn over unlawful content to law enforcement works against the very goal of the legislation. Further, subjecting these companies to a patchwork of state laws would inhibit them from making predictable and sound decisions. Instead of this approach, more progress could be made by allocating additional funding and direction to law enforcement to prioritize prosecuting bad actors.

“With more of our business and personal lives online than ever before, companies need to be able to secure devices and services. This bill threatens to undermine those security efforts.”

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