Will threatening online platforms with liability help prevent online child sexual exploitation effectively or will it hurt free speech and privacy?

• "This is a profoundly awful proposal on multiple levels...It uses the laudable aim of fighting child exploitation to cynically launder law enforcement’s unsuccessful, decades-long effort to undermine strong end-to-end encryption. And it codifies the idea of using Section 230 immunity—without which no online platform could realistically risk hosting user-generated content at scale—as a cudgel to force private businesses to adopt government-approved content moderation practices." Source: Julian Sanchez (Senior Fellow, Cato Institute)
• "But looking at the additional language it’s clear to me that this is still going to be a vehicle for the attorney general to wage his war on encryption. And it's kind of a black box. One of my fears is if this were implemented, what’s to stop China from saying 'in addition to monitoring for child sex abuse images, turn this on for Uighur freedom activists too.'" Source: Riana Pfefferkorn (Associate Director of Surveillance and Cybersecurity, Stanford Center for Internet and Society)
• "This bill is a transparent and deeply cynical effort by a few well-connected corporations and the Trump administration to use child sexual abuse to their political advantage, the impact to free speech and the security and privacy of every single American be damned." Source: Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat, Oregon)
• "[The amended] EARN IT Act replaces one set of problems with another by opening the door to an unpredictable and inconsistent set of standards under state laws that pose many of the same risks to strong encryption." Source: Mike Lemon (Senior Director, Internet Association)
• "We believe that the EARN IT Act not only jeopardizes privacy and threatens the right to free expression but also fails to effectively protect children from online exploitation." Source: Human Rights Watch
• "For the first time, you will have to earn blanket liability protection when it comes to protecting minors. Our goal is to do this in a balanced way that doesn’t overly inhibit innovation, but forcibly deals with child exploitation." Source: Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican, South Carolina)
• "Simply put, tech companies need to do better. Tech companies have an extraordinary special safeguard against legal liability, but that unique protection comes with a responsibility. Companies that fail to comport with basic standards that protect children from exploitation have betrayed the public trust granted them by this special exemption. Online platforms’ near complete immunity from legal responsibility is a privilege – they have to earn it – and that’s what our bipartisan bill requires." Source: Senator Richard Blumenthal (Democrat, Connecticut)
• "Technological advances have allowed the online exploitation of children to become much, much worse over recent years...Our bill would allow individuals to sue tech companies that don’t take proper steps to prevent online child exploitation, and it’s an important step to protect the most vulnerable among us." Source: Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California)
• "This bill is not about encryption and it never will be." Source: Senator Richard Blumenthal (Democrat, Connecticut)
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