FFTF: Sen. Wyden Rips EARN IT Act

Group presents senator with open letter signed by almost half a million

Sen. Ron Wyden (R-Ore.), the author of Sec. 230, has signaled the law needs work, but apparently not the way that the EARN IT Act goes about it. 

The bill, whose principal co-sponsors are Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), amends Sec. 230 of the Communications Decency Act to allow tech companies to be held liable in federal and state courts if there is child sexual abuse content on their sites.  

Related: Senate to Vet Edge Provider Liability Bill 

The bill passed out of the committee earlier this month. 

Wyden was on a livestream event hosted by Fight for the Future, which argues the EARN IT Act endangers online free speech.  

“By allowing any individual state to set the laws for Internet content, the bill creates enormous uncertainty, both for strong encryption and free speech online,” Wyden told the streamed audience, according to FFTF. “And what’s worse, a flood of state laws could potentially arise under the EARN IT Act and raise strong fourth amendment concerns, meaning that any evidence collected can be rendered inadmissible in court and accused offenders could get off scot-free! That seems to be pretty bizarre, even by Washington, DC standards.” 

FFTF said it “virtually” presented Wyden with an open letter opposing the EARN IT Act signed by almost 500,000 people. 

“The EARN IT Act is a disaster for free expression and privacy online,” said Dayton Young, product director at Fight for the Future. “Not only does this bill infringe upon the Constitutionally-protected rights of everyone in America, but the EARN IT Act will actually make it harder to catch and prosecute sexual predators,” he said. “Any member of Congress who is serious about stopping child exploitation online must reject the misguided EARN IT Act and focus on investing more resources in community-led efforts to stop violence and abuse before it happens.”