The Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies (EARN IT) Act, S. 3398, purports to prevent the spread of “child sex abuse material” on the Internet by increasing government oversight. However, both child safety and tech experts agree that EARN IT would be not only ineffective, but actively harmful. The act would likely fail to protect children and could lead to a disastrous upheaval of Internet security and privacy.
The EARN IT Act would establish a federal commission to create new guidelines for Internet companies. These new rules would require censorship, weakened security measures, or both. Companies would need to censor a wide range of content to protect themselves from liability, endangering free speech on the Internet. Meanwhile, platforms could be forced to replace safe, end-to-end encryption with a “backdoor” system for government access. This change would make user information on platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp more vulnerable to hackers, and would also allow government officials to see information––including messages and financial data––that users thought would remain private.
Tell your representatives to oppose EARN IT and protect safety and freedom on the Internet.