Earn It Act An End To End To End Encryption?

A bill with support from both sides of the aisle, called the Earn It (Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies) Act, was introduced on March 5th.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut), with Sen. Josh Hawley (Missouri) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (California) sponsored the bill.

EARN IT Act Sponsors: Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal
Photo: Jim Watson / AFP /Getty Images

This bill would affect what has been referred to as the Communications Decency Act by not guaranteeing protections put forth in section 230. This would allow government entities long sought after access to encrypted messages.

The stated reasoning behind The Earn It Act is protection for children from sex trafficking online. So is this an actual attempt to halt or slow online sex trafficking of minors or a thinly veiled attack on virtual liberties?

The problem with the bill, if its’ intentions are as stated, is regulating tech giants may have the opposite effect on child exploitation. Much like the DOJ shutdown of backpage.com, where after backpage’s closure, abusers of the online platform found other means including going back out on the street.

Whatever the intent, companies like Facebook and Twitter can not and will not bear the burden of potential lawsuits brought on by its users content.

Therefore, the response from tech companies will most likely be censorship of its users.

In 1995, when the Communications Decency Bill was enacted, social media was no where near as integral a part of every day life as it is today. The questions tech issues pose today would not have been thought of as an issue then.

Therefore, there are fair questions to ask.

Do we have a right to privacy? Does the 1st amendment protect online speech? Are tech companies responsible for users content?

Let us know what your thoughts in the comments.