Below is a press release from Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith:
U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) recently joined Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) in introducing bipartisan legislation to encourage the tech industry to take online child sexual exploitation seriously.
Hyde-Smith is an original cosponsor of the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act (EARN IT Act), which removes blanket immunity for violations of laws related to online child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and creates incentives for tech companies to “earn” liability protection.
“The online exploitation of children remains a serious and growing problem that must be addressed by Congress and Big Tech cooperatively. The EARN IT Act would set this serious effort in motion. The protection of children from predators, pornographers, and worse demands that we act,” Hyde-Smith said.
The EARN IT Act would establish the boundaries for holding tech companies accountable for facilitating the distribution of child sexual abuse material, including incentives for the industry to take online child sexual exploitation more seriously.
The legislation would also establish a National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention to recommend best practices related to identifying and reporting online child sexual exploitation. The bill includes provisions to bolster enforcement of child sexual abuse material statutes and to allow survivors civil recourse.
A 2019 investigative series published by the New York Times examined the astronomical increase in CSAM on prominent online platforms. The series examined tech companies that too often do not pursue online child sexual exploitation aggressively while provided immunity under the Communications Decency Act.
More than 240 groups, survivors and stakeholders support the EARN IT Act, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), Rights4Girls, National Center on Sexual Exploitation, National District Attorneys Association, National Association of Police Organizations, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, International Justice Mission, and Major Cities Chiefs Association.
Additional cosponsors include Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), John Kennedy (R-La.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
Click here to read a copy of the EARN IT Act.