Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®
, voiced opposition to the EARN IT Act, introduced today by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), in an op-ed on CTA.tech
In the op-ed, entitled “Why the EARN IT Act Puts Americans’ Online Security at Risk
,” Shapiro writes the bill “sets up the false choice between child safety and internet safety that [we] shouldn’t have to make.” Shapiro argues the unelected commission created by the bill in order to implement “best practices” would almost assuredly ban end-to-end encryption—increasing the chances of private data breaches and eroding the free online speech protections found in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Shapiro further argues this legislation impacts small businesses’ ability to thrive. “The EARN IT Act also jeopardizes small businesses that did nothing wrong and have no knowledge of illegal activity by allowing them to be targeted in class-action lawsuits. We should do everything we can to support entrepreneurs – creating a flood of bogus lawsuits and discouraging internet and tech innovation would be devastating to our startup economy,” writes Shapiro.
Finally, Shapiro notes that Section 230 does not shield child predators from federal criminal prosecution. The Department of Justice can and should prioritize child sexual abuse and bring child predators to justice today.
Shapiro goes on to write, “We must keep children safe – and we must work to find and stop child and sex traffickers. But in doing so, Congress and the administration must look for solutions that don’t put Americans’ online safety at risk.”
Read the full op-ed here