Owens co-sponsors legislation to confront websites monetizing child abuse

his week, Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) co-sponsored the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies (EARN IT) Act, bipartisan legislation to remove blanket immunity for violations of laws related to online child sexual abuse material (CSAM). The bill, led by Representatives Ann Wagner (MO-02) and Sylvia Garcia (TX-29) in the House, is a companion to Senate legislation introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

“We have a responsibility to protect young Americans from unsafe online platforms that promote and monetize sexual abuse and child exploitation,” said Rep. Owens. “The EARN IT Act rapidly expands our toolbox to protect children from sexual violence and threats to their online safety by limiting the liability protections of online service providers concerning claims alleging violations of child sexual exploitation laws. I am proud to join my colleagues in support of this bipartisan legislation to address the prevalence of these horrific crimes.”

The EARN IT Act would:

  • Establish the National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention
  • Facilitate the creation of best practices to prevent and respond to online child sexual abuse material
  • Enable online companies to be held civilly liable and subject to state prosecution if they violate child sexual abuse laws
  • Enhance reporting to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) CyberTipline
  • Modernize language to ensure these crimes are referred to as child sexual abuse, rather than child pornography

The full-text H.R. 6544 is available here.