Although internet use is good for everyone, some people use it in a bad way which may harras others including children as online child abuse. With that, a group of U.S. senators introduced a bill in U.S legislation to curb online distribution of materials that promotes child sexual abuse.
This bill is called, 'Eliminating Abuse and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2019,' or 'EARN IT Act,', that the U.S. Legislation enacts to reduce online child abuse. The sponsors of the bill are the judiciary committee's top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, fellow Democrats Dick Durbin and Sheldon Whitehouse, and Republican senators Josh Hawley, Kevin Cramer and Joni Ernst.
If strong support for the proposed bill is mustered, it will reach the Senate floor. Prior to these, similar bills that were against strong encryption were rejected. As of now, no one knows if it will pass that stage in the house.
This coming Wednesday, a Senate judiciary hearing will be held for that.
It is a bill that overrules immunity given to companies under federal law as Section 230 that allow online platforms to avoid responsibility for whatever content is published online with no liability whatsoever.
One of the Democratic Senators, Ron Wyden who was also an author of Section 230, remarked that it is a Trojan horse to hand over to Attorney General Barr and Donald Trump to control online speech and make government access mandatory to every aspect of American life.
Once the "Earn It Act" is approved, all companies should follow it as mandatory as voiced by the attorney general, an outspoken foe of online encryption. Placing it in U.S. legislation will make U.S. tech firms liable for online abuse.
Senator Graham remarked, that liability is protection when it comes to minors, expressing concern for the welfare of the children.
He also added saying, "Tech companies have an extraordinary special safeguard against legal liability, but that unique protection comes with a responsibility,".
Another comment issued by him is that tech companies should earn it in the bipartisan bill.
Washington is getting serious about the help given to online platforms as incentives to get bigger, but they are now used as venues for online crime, hate, and extremist organizations and personalities.
Those not for it argue that the best practices does not include an end to end encryption that stops other tech firms, police, and hackers from reading it, without specific permission given.
Facebook representative Thomas Richard told the authors that providing secure and private services will hamper operations of all America tech companies.
The bill was assailed by Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at NetChoice, he said in a quote," "The EARN IT Act creates a false choice between protecting children and supporting strong encryption protections."
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the bill in U.S. legislation will affect many sectors relying on encryption. But on the flip-side, The EARN IT Act will make online child abuse less prevalent.
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