EARN IT Act Talk at the DEF CON Crypto & Privacy Village

On August 7, I had the pleasure of doing a “fireside chat” with my friend and Section 230 expert Cathy Gellis at this year’s virtual DEF CON Crypto & Privacy Village. Cathy gave a primer on Section 230, and then we had a discussion about the EARN IT Act bill, the LAED Act bill, and

On August 7, I had the pleasure of doing a “fireside chat” with my friend and Section 230 expert Cathy Gellis at this year’s virtual DEF CON Crypto & Privacy Village. Cathy gave a primer on Section 230, and then we had a discussion about the EARN IT Act bill, the LAED Act bill, and the threats they pose to online speech, privacy, security, and encryption. You can watch the video here. (This is an archive of the entire day’s livestream; our talk starts at 07:28:45. Individual talk videos should be posted soon.) Thank you to the Crypto & Privacy Village (which I help organize!) for giving us this timeslot.

Meanwhile, the fight against the EARN IT Act continues. Sex worker activist collective Hacking // Hustling has launched a new website, Survive EARN IT, where you can learn more about the bill, how it will impact sex workers and other marginalized groups as well as your own rights, and take action to help stop it. Their ingenious slogan is, “Don’t punish people because you want to punish platforms.” That’s exactly right, and it neatly encapsulates something I’ve been saying for seven months now about EARN IT. Like SESTA/FOSTA before it and like the rest of the bumper crop of Section 230-amending bills introduced in Congress this session, EARN IT would not hurt Big Tech, but it will hurt ordinary people like you and me who depend upon online services — a reliance that has only become more pronounced since so much of life has shifted online during COVID-19.

There’s a lot of really major problems for Congress to address in the remainder of this legislative session, from saving the Postal Service to securing the November election to helping Americans survive the pandemic, physically, mentally, and economically. Congress should be focusing on those truly urgent matters, rather than messing with Section 230 and harming us all even more. Keep contacting your reps in Congress to tell them NO on EARN IT. 

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