The Senate Judiciary Committee is about to debate multiple bills that will lead to peoples’ private messages being scanned and reported to the government. We oppose these bills, and we have sent a letter urging the Committee to vote No.
On Thursday, May 4, 2023, the committee will consider S. 1207, the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2023 (EARN IT Act), and S. 1199, the Strengthening Transparency and Obligation to Protect Children Suffering from Abuse and Mistreatment Act of 2023 (STOP CSAM Act).
We’re far from alone. EFF and the Center for Democracy and Technology are also part of a coalition of 132 LBGTQ+ and human rights organizations who have signed a group letter opposing EARN IT.
As in the previous Congresses, the sponsors of these bills say their legislation is intended to protect children from online sexual exploitation—an important and laudable goal. Unfortunately, these bills threaten the privacy, security, and free expression of digital communications for all users, including children. Giving states and private litigants the power to threaten private companies with criminal prosecution and costly civil litigation unless they scan all of users’ private messages shows blatant disregard for the millions of law abiding people who depend on secure messaging to safely communicate. Military families, survivors of domestic violence, victims of identity theft and many others: there are many people for whom true end-to-end encryption is vital for personal safety and peace of mind.
At EFF, we’ve steadfastly opposed public officials who have called to undermine encryption. Strong encryption isn’t in tension with protecting vulnerable people and children—it’s vital for real public safety. Join us by telling your Senator to oppose both of these flawed bills.