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The EARN IT Act is back in Congress

The EARN IT Act is back in Congress

Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have reintroduced the EARN IT Act, a bill that would dilute Section 230 of the Communications Civilization Act.

The EARN IT Act has been described as an incentive for social media services to crack down on child sexual abuse material (or CSAM) online. While the text of the bill was not released immediately, a summary indicates that it is similar to a resolution passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee last year. That bill limited the generally broad protections that Section 230 provides for "interactive computer services" against prosecution of user-generated content, adding special conditions for content that violates CSAM laws.

The sponsors of the original EARN IT Act drew support from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and other groups, and were aimed at increasing child sexual abuse content online. But the bill was strongly condemned by the American Civil Liberties Union and many advocates for online civil liberties, sex workers and LGBT rights - who argued it would encourage companies to abandon strong encryption and privacy protections for users. Some of these groups, including Fight for the Future, have also issued statements against the revived bill. The bill is to be discussed in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

The EARN IT Act is one of several plans to carve out or add conditions to Section 230, but so far, it has been one of the only bills to gain significant traction, though not enough to earn a vote on the Senate floor. . If passed, it would join the 2018 FOSTA-SESTA carveout, which has stripped protections for sex work-related content – ​​and has been widely blamed for cracking down on sex workers online, while reports have sparked trafficking. Its value as an antitrust law has been cast in doubt. ,

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