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When the EARN IT Act was introduced in March 2020, technologists, civil society organizations, academics, and even a former FBI General Counsel blasted the bill as a thinly veiled attempt to prevent platforms from keeping users safe with strong encryption and IT company in surat. The bill had implications for intermediary liability, of course, but it was clearly a play to take down the strongest digital security tool we have online.
The EARN IT Act is now a monstrous version of its previous self. It would not only weaken the ability of platforms to protect users through encryption, but fundamentally alter how platforms operate. Leading to dangerous consequences for users and the global Internet.
While the new version of the bill would prevent the federal government from forcing platforms to weaken encryption to maintain their intermediary liability protection (a foundational aspect of most companies’ business plans). It would essentially allow states to pass their own version of the original EARN IT Act.
patchwork of state-level law
This would create a chaotic patchwork of state-level laws, threatening user security across the country and creating borders for a networking system that was never meant to recognize them. This bill would not only weaken the ability of platforms to protect users through encryption, but fundamentally alter how platforms operate, leading to dangerous consequences for users and the global Internet.
EARN IT: Don’t Solve a Problem by Creating 1,000 More
Most of us use the Internet for just about every part of daily life: banking, work, entertainment, education – and we use it to communicate with friends and family about some of the most important issues our country faces.
We often take for granted that it “just works.” But that is not a certain future IT company in surat.
For example, just in the past week dozens of major advertisers have pulled their ads off of Facebook. Because the platform was not upholding the community’s expectations of what speech should be permitted IT company in surat.
And that’s the way it should be. Governments shouldn’t dictate what kind of content gets to exist online. The Internet is borderless, meaning conflicting legal obligations from different countries would force platforms to choose whose regulations to follow or to create a different Internet experience in every country.
How Does the New EARN IT Act Threaten the Internet?
The new amendments to EARN IT get some things right – most importantly, its Commission of experts on online child sexual exploitation prevention would create a set of voluntary best practices that Congress would no longer have to approve. This means experts can work together to create a set of norms that companies can adapt to their own platforms.
Unfortunately, the problems with the EARN IT Act overshadow its good intentions. Insufficient protections for encryption threaten to make all users more vulnerable to the crime it is trying to address.
Although an amendment was added to the bill to provide protections for encryption, they are far from powerful enough. The protections from the amendment would be tested in state courts across the country, leaving strong encryption on unstable ground.
In an uncertain legal environment, companies will refrain from implementing end-to-end encryption, leaving all of us less safe.
By our read, it seems like the bill allows a broad array of claims against platforms that fail to prevent child sexual abuse material. From being distributed even if the platform had no knowledge that the content existed or was shared. This will likely ultimately lead platforms to be much more strict about any uploads to their site. Which will stifle innovation, communication, and users’ ability to share important messages online.
The Internet is still relatively young as far as technologies go. Let’s not knee-cap it before we know what we could really create.
Too Complicated to Pass
The EARN IT Act is an attempt by policymakers to mandate an outcome. But they are doing it in a way that could seriously harm everyday users along the way. Child sexual exploitation is a horrible, heart-wrenching crime. But breaking key security and legal protections that are fundamental to how the Internet works doesn’t fix that problem. It just makes everyone more vulnerable to the crime and hate we’re trying to prevent online.
We need tech-neutral and tech-aware solutions to fix today’s problems in a way the doesn’t compromise our strongest tools. To keep people – including children -– safe online. We need policymakers to be thoughtful and considerate of the implications of their actions. This rushed-through markup of the EARN IT Act is neither.