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Here are a few articles about the bill!
- The EARN IT Bill Is the Government’s Plan to Scan Every Message Online
- EFF EARN IT Act First Amendment Letter to SJC
- Casey Newton – the Intercept
This bill is such a clear extension, and expansion of SESTA/FOSTA; even more aggressively geared toward surveillance and government anti-encryption crackdowns. Remember how hard we fought before, we need that level of commitment, and more, again.
This is why we need education and concerted efforts to oppose and defeat the so-called “EARN IT Act of 2020″ (S. 3398), especially from fellow sex working/trading and hustling comrades already invested in ending state surveillance and its rampant whorephobic punishment policies.
What is the “EARN IT Act”? The full title is: Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2020 or the “EARN IT Act of 2020”, introduced March 5, 2020.
This act was proposed from Senators Graham (R-SC) and Blumenthal (D-CT), and drafted with help from Trump’s Justice Department. The act aims to address child sexual abuse online by threatening to allow more lawsuits against websites over user-created content and communication, unless they comply with new government speech guidelines. It would create a 19 person commission to set government control of online speech, which digital security experts believe is a thinly veiled attempt to mandate encryption backdoors. This means, in practice, ending encryption.
If you care about free speech, the sharing of knowledge, dissent and freedom of expression online, your fellow queer and trans sex workers of color, drug-using workers and harm reduction advocates, or political opponents of the current administration, you should care about smashing this proposed act.
This act would create a massive new threat to anyone who does not wish to be surveilled by private companies, by letting their new cherry-picked committee certify whether websites are living up to new federal speech rules, ostensibly to protect children. But those rules could easily be used to limit speech about abortion, LGBTQAI peoples, harm reduction methods, criticism of law enforcement, and so on, especially when private companies are given the ability to decide what to do with expanded surveillance and liability.
We know the government, and law enforcement in particular, love to expand surveillance and criminalization in the name of saving women, young girls and children. Just like SESTA/FOSTA, these policies expand the liability of platforms while requiring increased surveillance – all without a thought to its impact on users. We are still seeing the ramifications of FOSTA/SESTA – we cannot double down on these harms.
Please note that a YouTube video of this presentation will be posted along with a transcript in Early April.
Join us April 2nd for a Social Media Power Hour. Please share the below graphic widely. More info to come. Check back soon.