I am writing to express my opposition to S.3398, the EARN IT Act of 2020. The Earn It Act intends to combat the online sexual exploitation of children, however the bill as it is written raises two core concerns regarding my right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression: (1) it will unjustifiably limit free expression on the internet, and (2) it threatens access to encryption, which enables internet users to express themselves safely and securely.
The EARN IT Act forces internet companies to make a choice: manage the online expression of users based on best practices developed behind closed doors by an unelected 19 member commission, or face increased liability (in other words, lose money). As many internet companies rely on automated content moderation, undiscerning removal practices are even more likely. The EARN IT Act will also threaten access to encryption, a tool which enables everyone, from children attending school online to journalists and whistleblowers, to exercise their rights without fear of retribution.
Therefore, I oppose the EARN IT Act as written for its threats to internet users’ right to free expression, as well as safe and secure communication. I urge you to oppose the EARN IT Act as written, and prioritize a rights-respecting approach to stop the spread of child sexual exploitation online. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this email.