Senate Reintroduces Bill To Undermine Legal Basis For Digital Services’ Efforts To Address Dangerous Content

BY Heather Greenfield
February 1, 2022

Washington – Senator Graham and Senator Blumenthal have reintroduced the “Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies” (EARN IT) Act, which would weaken the law companies rely upon to address objectionable activity online, commonly referred to as Section 230, in a misdirected effort to combat child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online.  The bill is on the agenda for Senate Judiciary Committee markup on Thursday, February 2, and may be considered as soon as next week.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association sent several joint letters on previous, similar versions of the bill, alerting members of Congress to the collateral dangers of altering the law that gives internet companies legal certainty to remove nefarious and illegal content.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:

“Section 230 is no barrier to the federal prosecution of companies that illegally facilitate or fail to meet their legal obligations to combat the distribution of abuse material online. While digital services already report millions of pieces of illegal content per year, the prosecution of perpetrators has dwindled.

“Instead of directing more resources toward prosecution of industry-reported content, this bill aims to put a government commission in charge of how digital services operate.  Enforcing existing criminal statutes in known cases would prevent more crime than placing a federal committee in control of how Internet services police content.”

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