US senator threatens tech firms, says it is not blocking the child abuse bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senator Lindsey Graham, criticized the tech companies on Wednesday against a bipartisan bill aimed at reducing the incidence of child sexual abuse content online, and said that he would consider a more consequential step, if he is not in a position to get the legislation passed.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) attends an event to celebrate the anniversary of the White House, and the Women’s Global Development and well-being (C-GDP) is an initiative at the State Department in Washington, d.c., U.S., on February 12, 2020. (REUTERS photo/Leah Millis

Graham, who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said during a public hearing held to discuss the merit Act, introduced a bill, technology companies and civil liberties groups have said that it was an attack on a strong encryption is critical for billions of people.

The Republican senator said that he didn’t want to buy it,” he said, by the tech companies to the end of the sexual abuse of children, and in response to the testimony of Elizabeth Banker, deputy general counsel at a tech trade group the Internet Association, which counts companies such as Facebook Inc. and Alphabet, Inc. Google, from among its members.

“All they care about is not getting sued,” he said, referring to the tech company.

Technology companies have opposed the bill, which would mean the end of any immunity they may have under the federal law, Section 230 which protects platforms like Facebook, Google+, and Inc. is being sued over content posted by their users.

In particular, the companies were to lose their immunity if they don’t have to follow the “best practices” for the detection of the misuse of the images. This practice should be governed by a new government commission, headed by Attorney General William Barr. Barr is a well-known enemy of the end-to-end encryption, a technology that prevents tech companies, law enforcement and hackers to read the messages unless they have access to the devices, which will be sent at the same time.

The industry’s fear is one of the best practices would be a weakness of the method.

She also told reporters that if the bill did not pass, he would consider the legislation, which strips Section 230 protection, if internet companies do not have to fight the offensive material online, for the removal of their ability to follow the best practices.

“Most likely, we will be in the wind, and if we are not able to get passed it is to just carve out a Section 230 of the sexual abuse of a child (bill), and a lot of luck in the court of law,” he said. “In any other business, it has a tendency to get sued if they didn’t child-proof the business.”

Graham, and Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat who is the bill’s lead co-sponsor, said she does not support the enforcement of the law, to use the bill as a backdoor way of defeating that encryption.

“This is not a back door to encryption, bill,” Graham said at the hearing. “If the commission decides to address the use of encryption, there are important safeguards, including a parliamentary approval in order to ensure that the approach is reasonable, and in regards to the impact on the security of your data and your privacy.”

Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular