Senator Wyden: EARN IT Will Make Children Less Safe

from the exactly-right dept

Earlier this week we wrote about the problematic reintroduction of the EARN IT Act and explained how it will make children a lot less safe — exactly the opposite of what its backers claim. Senator Ron Wyden has now put out a statement that succinctly explains the problems of EARN IT, and exactly how it will do incredible harm to the very children it pretends to protect:

?This sadly misguided bill will not protect children. It will not stop the spread of vile child exploitation material or target the monsters that produce it. And it does not spend a single dollar to invest in prevention services for vulnerable children and youth or help victims and their families by providing evidence-based and trauma-informed resources. Instead, the EARN IT Act threatens the privacy and security of law-abiding Americans by targeting any form of private, secure devices and communication. As a result, the bill will make it easier for predators to track and spy on children and also harm the free speech and free expression of vulnerable groups,? Wyden said. ?I have spent my career in the Senate fighting to protect kids and aid victims of abuse, and I will do everything in my power to ensure every single monster responsible for exploiting children or spreading horrific CSAM materials is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But this bill does nothing to turn around the Justice Department?s tragic failure to prioritize child welfare and abuse cases.?

As Wyden notes, he introduced a bill that would put $5 billion towards actually fighting child sexual abuse, but for whatever reason that bill is going nowhere, while EARN IT is on the fast track.

Only one of those bills (Wyden’s) actually moves us towards really fighting against child sexual exploitation. The other one grandstands and makes children less safe because it fails to understand technology or the law. Yet which one is Congress gearing up to support?

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Comments on “Senator Wyden: EARN IT Will Make Children Less Safe”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

"Yet which one is Congress gearing up to support? "

The one that lets them continue to lie to the american public that X is the worst thing facing the world & funnel power/money to corporate donors for "solutions" that solve nothing.

Maybe someone should tell the Q faithful to look at the EARN IT act and start asking why it does nothing to actually save the poor trafficked children.

What? I’m still a sociopath & the entertainment value of unleashing the Q faithful on the Trump faithful over the ever important child trafficking and eating cabal that obviously they are supporting with this bill might entertain me for minutes.

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Jojo (profile) says:

Oh jeez, I don’t know who to believe more. It’s either between:

The clueless moral shill who is puppeteered by a cult of sexless prudes who might be a hate group against the LGBT community and his sole contribution are bills that are the embodiment of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”


One of the two Senators who literally laid down the legal foundations of the internet.

I dunno it’s such a close call. ????

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s still worthwhile I’d say as I imagine with all the crap he has to deal with a ‘You’re doing a great job, keep it up’ letter would be appreciated, and you never know, it might give him that tiny little bit of motivation needed to keep pushing against bills like this when the opposition gets tough.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Here's just a few ways in which this bill will make things worse

This bill will have drastic impact on the way we use the internet. It has been compared to FOSTA but it”s far more broad than that.

Since it’s been re-introduced I’ve trying to wrap my head around just how bad the fallout will be and here’s what I’ve found.

  1. As CDT notes, the commission this would create while not having any legal teeth could still be weighed by judges against companies in lawsuits to determine if and what they SHOULD have done so these "worst practices" would be in-fact de-facto law plus states may amend their laws to mandate the adoption of these practices which would put us right back to the March version from 2020 and by extension worsen the 4A issues at play if those practices require monitoring and/or filtering.

  2. Due to the now even weaker sauce encryption language it disincentivizes companies to encrypt and/or roll back in order to avoid liability which we all know would be a devastating blow to the security of the internet.

  3. Due to some state laws with lower mens ra than the federal standard like Florida which makes companies liable for CSAM they didn’t know was on their service but "should’ve known" or had "ground to believe" along with Illinois and South Carolina that says failing to inspect the content of their user’s communications makes them liable it not only creates a new 4A problem by transforming those searches into government searches it may by extension see the return of age-assurance measures if it would help avoid liability.

All of this plus the fact that it disincentivizes companies to continue their anti-CSAM efforts or get better at it if it just means they’ll get smacked with crippling liability and if they are mandated by state laws to search, it risks any evidence given being suppressed and possibly allowing those accused to go free which would be the ultimate failing of this bill.

It’s a lose-lose situation.

All while chilling speech, disproportionately affecting LGBT+ and sex positive communities, and making the internet more insecure all while not making children one iota safer.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Think of the children! because we're certainly not

As Wyden notes, he introduced a bill that would put $5 billion towards actually fighting child sexual abuse, but for whatever reason that bill is going nowhere, while EARN IT is on the fast track.

That tells you all you need to know really about how honest the politicians rushing to pass EARN IT because won’t someone think of the children actually are really. When presented with the option to throw literally billions of dollars at the problem the politicians involved just can’t be bothered, but given the option to undermine encryption that protects hundreds of millions in the country in the process of telling sites ‘do better’ and blame them for not ‘doing enough’ they can’t sign that bill fast enough.

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