July 01, 2020

Wyden: New Version of EARN IT Would Do Little to Stop CSAM; Continues to Threaten Encryption and Free Speech Online

Earn It Authors Pull Widely Condemned Bill And Attempt to Replace it With New Legislation One Day Before Committee Vote

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., issued the following statement, after Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., pulled the EARN IT Act today and replaced it with an entirely new bill, one day before a scheduled markup in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“After widespread condemnation of the EARN IT Act as a dangerous attack on encryption and free speech, the bill’s authors are attempting to replace their deeply flawed bill with an entirely new piece of legislation, one day before a scheduled vote.

“Unfortunately, the new bill will do even less than the previous version to stop the spread of child sexual abuse material, target the monsters who produce and share it or help victims of these evil crimes. SESTA/FOSTA has shown that this kind of 230 carve out has done nothing to help victims or stop sex trafficking, while creating collateral damage for marginalized communities and the speech of all Americans.

“By allowing any individual state to set laws for internet content, this bill will create massive uncertainty, both for strong encryption and free speech online.  

“I urge my colleagues not to recklessly rush this legislation ahead without a full vetting of whether it would actually solve the real problem of CSAM online, as well as its broad unintended consequences.”

EARN It has been broadly condemned by an array of civil liberties, human rights and internet freedom groups – Read their comments on the bill here.

Senator Wyden has introduced the Invest In Child Safety Act, to require more funding for prevention and support for victims of CSAM, modernize the systems at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and more effectively stop the spread of these materials online.