By: Agence France-Presse
The tech sector is digging in for battle with US lawmakers over a proposed legislation aimed toward curbing human trafficking by holding web site homeowners accountable for unlawful content material posted by others.
Backers of the bill argue it might give legislation enforcement extra instruments to crack down on web sites selling [email protected] trafficking, however web corporations and civil liberties advocates argue the measure would undermine a core precept of web freedom.
The bill launched by Senator Rob Portman with bipartisan backing seems aimed on the web site Backpage which has been accused of facilitating youngster prostitution and [email protected] trafficking.
“The internet has revolutionized illegal [email protected] trafficking, and federal law simply has not kept pace,” Portman stated in introducing the laws.
But critics say the bill aimed toward modifying the legal responsibility provisions of the Communications Decency Act might eradicate the free-speech underpinnings of the web, giving web sites immunity from content material posted by others.
“The proposed legislation would have a devastating impact on legitimate online services without having a meaningful impact on ending trafficking crimes,” stated a letter to lawmakers from the Computer and Communications Industry Association and different teams which embrace tech giants equivalent to Google, Facebook, Microsoft.
Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association, representing some 2,000 tech corporations, stated present legislation “is the legal underpinning for America’s world-leading internet industry” that has allowed the net sector to flourish.
“By clarifying that online platforms are not liable for the posts of their users, Congress enabled internet platforms ranging from major companies to startups to host reviews, pictures, status updates and other user content,” Shapiro stated in an announcement.
Without this immunity, he stated, “internet platforms would be forced to censor content heavily and faced with crushing legal liability.”
Eric Goldman, who heads the Santa Clara University High Tech Law Institute, stated the bill “potentially implicates every online service that deals with user-generated content, which would make this an unusually wide-ranging bill.”
Other critics say authorized instruments can be found to crack down on web sites that promote human trafficking with out affecting free speech rights.
“Internet companies agree that further steps must be taken to end human trafficking,” stated Michael Beckerman of the Internet Association, which incorporates Amazon, Facebook, Google and different on-line operators opposing the laws.
“The internet industry is committed to working with Congress to… provide public and private partners the resources necessary to combat human trafficking.”(AFP)