The EARN IT Act would gut Communications Decency Act Section 230, which protects free speech online. Section 230 requires you be held responsible for what you say, not the website or platform where you said it. As more and more speech is corralled into the tech giants walled gardens, it ensures that we have the freedom to express ourselves.
“EARN IT would establish a “National Commission on Online Child Exploitation Prevention.” This Commission would include the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and 12 other members handpicked by leaders in Congress. The Commission would be tasked with recommending “best practices for providers of interactive computer services regarding the prevention of online child exploitation conduct.” But far from mere recommendations, those “best practices” would bring the force of law. Platforms that failed to adhere to them would be stripped of their Section 230 protections if they were accused (either in civil or criminal court) of carrying unlawful material relating to child exploitation. … If the Attorney General disagrees with the Commission’s recommendations, he can override them and write his own instead.”
This bill is FOSTA/SESTA on steroids and is plainly aimed at silencing our 1st Amendment rights on-line. Attorney General Barr, no fan of our right to privacy, would use this new power to ban end-to-end encryption and ensure that platforms that use end-to-end encryption, such as Signal and WhatsApp, are wiretap ready.
Senators Warren and Markey can put a hold on it and stop the bill from being considered in the Senate. Senator Wyden has successfully done this in the past. With 60 votes in the Senate in favor of ending mass surveillance of our web browsing and search history, there is a good chance the hold would be upheld.
Now is the time they need your call urging them to put a hold on the EARN It Act. Call them at:
- Warren: Senate office at (202) 224-4543. Her local offices are at (617) 565-3170 / (413) 788-2690
- Markey: Senate office at (202) 224-2742. His local office is at (617) 565-8519
Ultimately, the only way we can ensure our privacy and 1st Amendment rights are protected is to replace Democrats and Republicans with Pirates in the House and Senate. We need you for 2022.