LGBT Tech Signs Civil Society Coalition Letter Condemning the EARN IT Act

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

On March 6, 2020, the Civil Society Coalition delivered a letter denouncing the Eliminating Abuse and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act (EARN IT Act) to Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal, along with members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. The letter, which LGBT Tech signed as part of the twenty-five member coalition, describes the coalition's opposition to the proposed legislation based on its plan to weaken encrypted networks.

Claiming to benefit victims of child exploitation, the EARN IT Act "would create incentives for companies to 'earn' liability protection for violations of laws related to online child sexual abuse material (CSAM)." In addition to establishing a National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention, the EARN IT Act would require companies to undergo Congressional review to certify their compliance with Congressional standards.

Ironically, however, those standards could endanger the very children the bill claims to protect. "We fully support the goal of curbing child exploitation online," the Coalition letter makes clear. "We are concerned, however, that the bill’s language as drafted currently is seriously flawed in several important respects, and could in fact make it more difficult for law enforcement to protect children." One of the bill's biggest flaws, the letter states, is its implicit proposal for tech companies to weaken their encrypted networks.