Bipartisan Senate Judiciary Committee introduces bill that censors online content and attacks encryption By Kevin Reed 17 March 2020
Leading members of the Senate Judiciary Committee formally introduced a bipartisan bill on March 5 that escalates US government censorship of online content and directly attacks encryption of electronic communications under the cover of fighting online child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (Republican of South Carolina), US Senators Richard Blumenthal (Democrat of Connecticut), Josh Hawley (Republican of Missouri) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (Democrat of California) jointly introduced the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act (EARN IT Act) that purports to encourage the tech industry to take online child sexual exploitation seriously.
The concept behind the law is that tech companies have to earn their protected immunity from prosecution for any illegal content published by users on their platforms by scanning and decrypting every message, image or post. Until now, online service providers were not responsibleunder what are known as the Section 230 provisions of the Communications Decency Act of 1996for anything users publish on websites, social media accounts or cloud servers.
In introducing the bill, Senator Graham said, This bill is a major first step. For the first time, you will have to earn blanket liability protection when it comes to protecting minors. Senator Blumenthal added, Companies that fail to comport with basic standards that protect children from exploitation have betrayed the public trust granted them by this special exemption.
While claiming to fight online CSAM and enlisting the support of 70 organizations involved in stopping child sexual exploitation, the bills actual content shows that its ultimate purpose is an attack on fundamental democratic rights.
The law calls for the creation of a 19-member commission controlled by the attorney general and US law enforcement agencies. The EARN IT commission will establish best practices that must be followed by the technology companies or they will face criminal prosecution if content on their services is found to be illegal.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), among the best practices of the EARN IT Act is a proposal by John Shehan, vice president at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), that says, online services should be made to screen their messages for material that NCMEC considers abusive; use screening technology approved by NCMEC and law enforcement; report what they find in the messages to NCMEC; and be held legally responsible for the content of messages sent by others.
Therefore, the EARN IT law will place the tech companies and their users in a Catch-22. The law mandates that tech providers either agree to monitor the content and violate the privacy and free speech rights of their users by screening everything they publish, post or store on the service or they agree to be prosecuted by the state for any illegal content that appears on their site.
EFF further explains that the 19-member commission will be completely dominated by law enforcement and allied groups like NCMEC, and the bill gives Attorney General Barr the power to veto or approve the list of best practices. Even if other commission members do disagree with law enforcement, Barrs veto power will put him in a position to strongarm them.
It is well known that William Barr and the US Justice Department have been advocates of online censorship and for abolishing end-to-end encryption in consumer electronic devices. There is nothing stopping the EARN IT Act from introducing as one of its best practices a provision for law enforcements back-door access to encrypted communications and data files. Those firms which refuse to comply would then have their Section 230 protections eliminated.
It is a measure of the dishonesty of the American political system that leading Democrats and Republicans can so transparently use the fears and emotions of the public against child exploitation as a means of attacking fundamental rights protected by the Constitution.
On May 11, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on the EARN IT Act and took testimony from witnesses on the proposed legislation. Among the speakers were representatives from the NCMEC, Jared Sine of the online dating company Match Group, a child exploitation legal expert, and Elizabeth Banker of the Internet Association. Of these speakers, only the last spoke against the EARN IT Act.
In her presentation, Banker explained that many of the major tech firms todayincluding Amazon, Ebay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Uberare members of the Internet Association. She went on to review the multi-faceted measures that tech companies have been engaged in to combat CSAM, going back to the passage of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, from their platforms.
Banker then explained how the EARN IT Act would create numerous problems and hinder the efforts to combat CSAM by violating online users First and Fourth Amendment rights because the providers will be acting as agents of the government. She stated, Under Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, a search performed by an agent of the government is subject to the same requirements as if the government performed the search directly.
Banker also spoke about the implications for freedom of speech in the Senate Judiciary Committee bill, The EARN IT Act would delegate important decisions concerning security, privacy, and free speech on the internetweighty and complex matters that directly impact hundreds of millions of consumersto an administrative body that would be composed of members who are not elected representatives and that would operate with little transparency.
Finally, Banker said that although the bill does not specifically mention encryption, Requiring companies to engineer vulnerabilities into their services would make us all less secure. Encryption technology stands between billions of internet users around the globe and innumerable threatsfrom attacks on sensitive infrastructure, including our highly automated financial systems, to attempts by repressive governments to censor dissent and violate human rights.
It could not have been lost on the Democratic and Republican senators or Elizabeth Banker of the Internet Association that the greatest threat of censorship and violation of human rights all over the world, including within the US itself, comes from American imperialism.
2019 has been a year of mass social upheaval. We need you to help the WSWS and ICFI make 2020 the year of international socialist revival. We must expand our work and our influence in the international working class. If you agree, donate today. Thank you.
- Microsoft answers Amazons Verizon cloud partnership with new 5G-enabled Azure Edge Zones, starting with AT&T - GeekWire - April 1st, 2020
- Local Break Out (LBO) and Its Role in Bringing Cloud to the Edge - Data Center Knowledge - April 1st, 2020
- Snap Launches App Stories to Expand Its Reach - Nasdaq - April 1st, 2020
- Holy Water: A creative water-holing attack discovered by Kaspersky - ETCIO.com - April 1st, 2020
- StorageOS hits the big 2.0 as it targets more 'mature' clusters - DevClass - April 1st, 2020
- North West Logistics moves to the cloud - Tina Massey - April 1st, 2020
- Micron Gains as Cloud Strength Boosts its Earnings and Guidance - TheStreet - March 26th, 2020
- Cloud-Based Security Tool Adoption: Latest Research Findings - MSSP Alert - March 26th, 2020
- Supermicro Accelerates AI and Deep Learning with NGC-Ready Servers - insideHPC - March 26th, 2020
- COVID-19 puts corporate WFH capabilities to the test - SC Magazine - March 26th, 2020
- Discover aspects of the Hybrid Cloud Market as it value achieves $171926 million with CAGR 21.7% - WhaTech Technology and Markets News - March 26th, 2020
- Dell debuts oven-ready AI platforms to ease researchers' setup pain - Blocks and Files - March 26th, 2020
- How is Coronavirus Affecting the Daily Lives of Architects? Our Readers Answer - ArchDaily - March 26th, 2020
- Enabling AI with edge computing and HCI - Techerati - March 26th, 2020
- StackPath and Broadcom Collaborate to Boost Cloud Compute Services at the Edge - Yahoo Finance - March 25th, 2020
- 5 Innovative Applications of Edge Computing - AiThority - March 25th, 2020
- NVIDIA, Azure And AWS Offer Free Resources To Fight Against COVID-19 - Analytics India Magazine - March 25th, 2020
- Cloud Server: Market 2020 What Factors will drive the Market in Upcoming Years Dell, HP, IBM, Oracle, Cisco, Fujitsu, Hitachi, NEC - News Times - March 25th, 2020
- Centrica operations are boosted by development of cloud-based system - Information Age - March 25th, 2020
- Coronavirus: How organisations align IT costs with business value - Software Testing News - March 25th, 2020
- Sysdig Provides the First Cloud-Scale Prometheus Monitoring Offering - Business Wire - March 25th, 2020
- Insights on the ASEAN and Taiwan Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service Market - Forecast to 2025 - ResearchAndMarkets.com - Yahoo Finance - March 25th, 2020
- Say Goodbye to legacy: Moving over to cloud-native availability solutions - Bdaily - March 25th, 2020
- Thought Machine's Paul Taylor: 'Events like this will push banking into the cloud' - AltFi - March 25th, 2020
- Head in the Clouds: Managing Security in a Multi-Cloud World - TechSpective - March 25th, 2020
- Laser Links will link small satellites to Earth and each other - Laser Focus World - March 25th, 2020
- The trouble with cloud evaluations amid too many choices - TechTarget - March 25th, 2020
- Cloud Computing is Helping Deal with Coronavirus - Analytics Insight - March 23rd, 2020
- Owner Says Tesla Model 3 Window Shattered By Itself, Accused Of FUD - InsideEVs - March 23rd, 2020
- Insights on the ASEAN and Taiwan Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service Market - Forecast to 2025 - ResearchAndMarkets.com - Business Wire - March 23rd, 2020
- Link11 Offers Its Cloud-Based DDoS Protection Solution To Public Sector Organizations Free Of Cost During COVID-19 - SecurityInformed - March 23rd, 2020
- Here's how AI is helping Indian Insurance industry improve customer experience - ETCIO.com - March 23rd, 2020
- New HomeKit-compatible pan-and-tilt Eufy camera seems to be on the way - 9to5Mac - March 23rd, 2020
- AI can better predict drug response to lung cancer therapies - ETCIO.com - March 23rd, 2020
- Evolution of the Cloud Conversation - UC Today - March 23rd, 2020
- Galvanizing the new age of IT with AI and hybrid cloud - ETCIO.com - March 23rd, 2020
- London teacher with half a million hits on maths website during coronavirus outbreak shortlisted as among world's best - Evening Standard - March 23rd, 2020
- Surge in home working highlights Microsoft licensing issue: If you are not on subscription, working remotely is a premium feature - The Register - March 23rd, 2020
- Google Teams Up with Solo.io to Extend Istio - Container Journal - March 23rd, 2020
- Running These Workloads? You Should Take A Look At The IBM Z15 - Forbes - March 23rd, 2020
- Cloud Servers Market Share Analysis and Research Report by 2025 - Express Journal - March 19th, 2020
- VPN deal: 73% off and a cloud storage freebie with this limited time offer - TechRadar India - March 19th, 2020
- Ampere's server chip has 80 Arm CPU cores? Yeah, well, our ThunderX3 will have 96 with 384 threads, says Marvell - The Register - March 19th, 2020
- Pushing the cloud to the limit, with UKFast's Chris Folkerd - Techerati - March 19th, 2020
- The global malware analysis market was valued at US$ 2.55 Bn in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 29.2% during the forecast period 2019 -... - March 19th, 2020
- Immersion Neuroscience Index Reveals the Public Craves Direction From Its Elected Leaders, Not Celebrities, During a Crisis - Business Wire - March 19th, 2020
- Memo to MSPs: Is There A Safe Way to Visit Customer Offices? - ChannelE2E - March 19th, 2020
- Global Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Markets to 2025 - IBM, Cisco, Huawei and Microsoft are the Forerunners of this $27 Billion-Projected Industry -... - March 19th, 2020
- Spectro Cloud Launches With $7.5 Million to Help Enterprises Realize the Promise of Kubernetes - GlobeNewswire - March 19th, 2020
- Pockets of Density Will Be More Common in Future Data Centers - Data Center Frontier - March 19th, 2020
- Cloud of uncertainty for restaurants, bars, and servers - WKBW-TV - March 17th, 2020
- Google: This is what caused CPU throttling at our cloud data center - ZDNet - March 17th, 2020
- Google reveals the wheels almost literally fell off one of its cloudy server racks - The Register - March 17th, 2020
- The Last Hurrah Before The Server Recession - The Next Platform - March 17th, 2020
- Google Translates real time transcription feature is out now for Android - The Verge - March 17th, 2020
- Data storage in the cloud: 5 ways to make it faster and cheaper - TechGenix - March 17th, 2020
- Spectro Cloud Launches With $7.5 Million to Help Enterprises Realize the Promise of Kubernetes - Container Journal - March 17th, 2020
- Need to build a high-performance private cloud? You need the QNAP TVS-1282T3 Thunderbolt 3 NAS - ZDNet - March 17th, 2020
- Your No. 1 Cloud Threat is 'Excessive Permissions' - CXOToday.com - March 17th, 2020
- Business101: 5 Reasons why small and medium businesses should consider cloud technology - IOL - March 17th, 2020
- NetApp Acquires Talon Storage, Providing Integration with Cloud Services and File Shares - Database Trends and Applications - March 17th, 2020
- Microsoft, Google, Slack, Zoom et al struggling to deal with a spike in remote tools thanks to coronavirus - The Register - March 17th, 2020
- Differences Between The Types Of Hosting Services - Knnit - Knnit - March 17th, 2020
- Cloud Server Market 2020: Applications, Types and Growing Trends in Market, Gro - News by aeresearch - March 17th, 2020
- Cloud firms turn to long nights, employee health checks to survive work-from-home rush - Japan Today - March 17th, 2020
- Where to look for cost savings in the cloud - TechCentral.ie - March 17th, 2020
- Solar Industry Grows 23% in 2019, But Clouds Are on the Horizon - Nasdaq - March 17th, 2020
- Azure admins' cold sweat likely caused by a 'isolated' power problems that browned out West Central USA region - The Register - March 17th, 2020
- Lloyds to partner with Google Cloud - Business Insider - Business Insider Nordic - March 11th, 2020
- What Is An Advanced Cloud? - Forbes - March 11th, 2020
- Cloud Adoption Will Be On A Rise In 2020 - HostReview.com - March 11th, 2020
- Alveo U25 SmartNIC turnkey solution for the Cloud - Fudzilla - March 11th, 2020
- VMware embraces Kubernetes with vSphere 7 - Blocks and Files - March 11th, 2020
- Supermicro Unveils MegaDC Servers - The First Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) Systems Designed Exclusively for Hyperscale Datacenters - Associated... - March 11th, 2020
- COVID-19 Global Outbreaks: Coordinating Your Remote Business Operations - China Briefing - March 11th, 2020
- How Mircom Group is using technology to turn buildings into active, networking machines - The Globe and Mail - March 11th, 2020
- Mastering the multicloud maze: how to choose the right solution for your business - UKTN - March 11th, 2020
- The not-so-Smart Home is available now to disable the Server in the Cloud, behind the Lightify - Play Crazy Game - March 11th, 2020
- Supermicro's data centre on a pole sends IoT processing to the Edge - Data Economy - March 9th, 2020
- Amazon, Microsoft cloud-computing can weather a recession and coronavirus, analysts say - The Columbian - March 9th, 2020