Freedom Forever is proud to have been one of the first to endorse The EARN IT ACT. We are one of over 250 different anti-trafficking and exploitation organizations and advocacy leaders to support this bill.
Over the past year, we have contributed countless hours into advancing awareness on this important and overdue piece of legislation. This bill will play a crucial role in protecting children online while holding Big Tech accountable for facilitating online sex trafficking and exploitation.
The following information summarizes the basis of the bill and why implementation of The EARN IT ACT is critical. The EARN IT ACT repeals near blanket immunity from liability enjoyed by interactive computer service, or digital companies under judicial interpretations of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, section 230.
The bill would hold companies accountable for the harmful content they monetize through advertising. The EARN IT ACT would provide victims of exploitative materials the opportunity to use federal, state, criminal, and civil law to seek redress for harm suffered. We have witnessed the first-hand accounts of countless individuals, and parents of children who have had sexually explicit videos and photographs illegally posted online without consent.
In 2021 alone, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) was made aware of over 29.3 million reports that included nearly 85 million content types that implied or related to sexual exploitation of minors.
The proliferating reach of online (CSAM) child sexual abuse material is increasing rapidly. This category of content is often referred to as child pornography, using language such as this is misleading as the term pornography often implies consent. Children do not choose to be abused or to be exploited. Any material that involves children is criminal and must be recognized as such.
If said content features children, it is not pornography, it is child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Using the correct language prevents the underplaying of criminal issues and enforces the serious nature of these illegal abuses. Changing the legal terminology from “child pornography” to “CSAM” is another effective change the EARN IT ACT will implement.
In many cases, large scale social media platforms provide unmonitored opportunities for criminal activity. Despite there being protocols for citizens to report concerning material and activity on these digital platforms, the multitude of requests for removal and remedy are ignored even when presented with evidence that the victim of exploitative content is a minor.
Federal law requires that the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children be alerted regarding CSAM. Even with laws in place that should protect minors, many of the largest tech giants ignore this obligation entirely.
However well intentioned, it is unrealistic to place hope in content moderation resources that will never be enough to stand against the illegal and harmful activity that is facilitated across Big Tech. For this reason, more policy reform is needed to implement protections that will keep our children free from exploitation in a world that often looks the other way in favor of advertising profits.
To address these accountability concerns, The EARN IT ACT would establish a new National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention. The commission would consist of an independent body of experts that would recommend best practices related to identifying and reporting online child sexual exploitation.
They would provide evidence-based strategies that would best prevent predatory grooming and sex trafficking. These efforts would help parents and schools to confidently shield children from damaging online content and provide guidance to private industry to implement filters and age gating to their online platforms and sites.
Big Tech lobbyists argue that The EARN IT ACT undermines privacy initiatives, and free speech protections. The only private territories that the bill would undermine are the ones in which CSAM is allowed to run rampant, which is the true violation of human rights.
This 2022 version of the bill clearly states that it does not undermine encryption. Rather, it is a necessary, surgical reform to CDA 230 in order to prevent criminality with lifelong negative consequences on innocent victims.
Please contact your congressional representatives today and ask them to support The EARN IT ACT. It is crucial to ask them to co-sponsor two identical bills: S 3538 in the Senate and H.R. 6544 in the House.
Here are 5 easy steps to take to support The EARN IT ACT today:
We implore you to convey the urgency of this legislation to Congressional leadership to see the protections that this bill provides come to fruition. You can help us to safeguard children by taking action in support of the only bipartisan piece of legislation addressing the harms of CSAM proliferating online.