The Senate Judiciary Committee today will mark up S. 3398, the EARN IT Act, a bill that would condition Section 230 protections for tech companies on yet-to-be written regulations. Proponents of the bill say it is aimed at curbing child abuse on the Internet.
CEI research fellow Patrick Hedger said:
“The EARN IT Act represents lawmaking at its most problematic. It is a bill wrapped in the best of intentions, combatting the horrific scourge of sexual exploitation of minors, but we cannot govern based only on good intent. The outcome of this legislation would not only empower unelected federal bureaucrats to decide what is and what is not acceptable speech online but also risks making the Internet even less of a safe place for children. The ambiguous authority granted to these bureaucrats by the bill poses a threat to encryption, jeopardizing the security of all Internet users including children. Last but not least, the bill raises serious Fourth Amendment concerns by effectively turning major web services into agents of the state, making it harder for these companies to continue catching and reporting online predators as they do now."