DAs, Others Make Case for EARN IT Act

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Architect of the Capitol)

The National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) has joined with others to call on Congress to pass the EARN IT Act, which would limit Big Tech's immunity from liability for third-party content on websites.

“Prosecutors are thrilled to once again support the EARN IT Act, a bill that would hold the tech industry accountable for the exploitation of children on their platforms," said NDAA. "We look forward to working alongside Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Richard Blumenthal to #ProtectKidsOnline.”

The goal of the bill is to take on online child exploitation by making it clear that there is no immunity from civil liability for posting or hosting child sexual abuse material.

The bill is being marked up in the Senate Judiciary Committee February 10 and the groups want to get in front of that process with a call to the committee to favorably report the bill to the full Senate.

Numerous Big Tech associations have weighed in against the bill saying that while well intentioned would harm the open internet.

Also: EARN IT Act Earns Plenty of Input

Computer companies were not happy with the news last week that Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) had reintroduced the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies (EARN IT) Act.

The bill amends Section 230 of the Communications Act to say that the section's immunity for online platforms from civil liability for third-party content does not extend to child exploitation, meaning a Facebook or Twitter could be held civilly liable for posts that are proven to illegally exploit children.  

It would also establish a National Commission on Online Child Exploitation Prevention to establish best practices for preventing such exploitation.  

Also among those supporting the bill are the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and the National  Center for Missing and Exploited Children. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.