Can the ‘Worst of Both Worlds FOSTA’ Be Salvaged? Perhaps…and You Can Help (URGENT CALL TO ACTION)
As you know, Congress is brewing up bad policy solutions to the terrible crime of sex trafficking. The latest version, what I’ve deemed the Worst of Both Worlds FOSTA, passed the House and will go to the Senate floor for a vote next week, maybe as early as Monday. Read this post if you want to see why I’ve deemed it the “Worst of Both Worlds.”
In brief, the insanely complicated bill makes over a dozen uncoordinated policies. None of the changes are guaranteed to help prevent or protect sex trafficking victims, and several changes could have counterproductive consequences–including the risk that some online services will turn off or down their content moderation efforts, in which case promotions for sex trafficking victims (and other anti-social content) would potentially flourish after the law.
However, this problem could be substantially ameliorated by an amendment proposed by Sen. Ron Wyden. Sen. Wyden has already candidly admitted that the Worst of Both Worlds FOSTA will pass the Senate, so our only realistic remaining move is trying to fix it. His proposed amendment, which largely tracks a proposal I made last year, would clarify that undertaking socially valuable content moderation efforts won’t count against online services. With this amendment, it’s likely that online services will continue the content moderation efforts they are already doing without fearing liability, and thus it reduces the risk that the Worst of Both Worlds FOSTA spurs the growth of anti-social content. Here is the amendment text (sorry for the funky format):
If you think this is a meritorious fix to a bad bill, then *immediately* call your Senators (you have 2, remember!) and tell them:
1) You oppose SESTA/FOSTA because it’s not clear the law actually helps sex trafficking victims; and
2) You want your Senator to support Sen. Wyden’s proposed content moderation amendment because it ensures online services will keep being the first line of defense in the fight against sex trafficking.
Note 1: This issue could be moot as early as Monday afternoon, so literally CALL NOW.
Note 2: CALL, not email. The EFF has made it easy for you to do.
Note 3: It’s still not clear that the Senate will vote on the amendment due to complex and confusing procedural wranglings I don’t understand. As part of your call, you can ask your Senator to request consideration of the amendment on the Senate floor. If you live in Kentucky, absolutely tell Sen. McConnell the amendment should be considered by the full Senate.
Note 4: Sen. Wyden proposed a second amendment (text below) to provide more funding for the fight against sex trafficking. That’s a worthy goal, but the amendment doesn’t fix any of bill’s problems, so you can decide if you want to ask your Senator to support that amendment too.
If you do call your Senators, I’d love to get an email letting me know (firstname.lastname@example.org). THANK YOU for considering this crucial issue.
More SESTA/FOSTA-Related Posts:
* Congress Probably Will Ruin Section 230 This Week (SESTA/FOSTA Updates)
* What’s New With SESTA/FOSTA (January 17, 2018 edition)
* New House Bill (Substitute FOSTA) Has More Promising Approach to Regulating Online Sex Trafficking
* My testimony at the House Energy & Commerce Committee: Balancing Section 230 and Anti-Sex Trafficking Initiatives
* How SESTA Undermines Section 230’s Good Samaritan Provisions
* Manager’s Amendment for SESTA Slightly Improves a Still-Terrible Bill
* Another Human Trafficking Expert Raises Concerns About SESTA (Guest Blog Post)
* Another SESTA Linkwrap (Week of October 30)
* Recent SESTA Developments (A Linkwrap)
* Section 230’s Applicability to ‘Inconsistent’ State Laws (Guest Blog Post)
* An Overview of Congress’ Pending Legislation on Sex Trafficking (Guest Blog Post)
* The DOJ’s Busts of MyRedbook & Rentboy Show How Backpage Might Be Prosecuted (Guest Blog Post)
* Problems With SESTA’s Retroactivity Provision (Guest Blog Post)
* My Senate Testimony on SESTA + SESTA Hearing Linkwrap
* Debunking Some Myths About Section 230 and Sex Trafficking (Guest Blog Post)
* Congress Is About To Ruin Its Online Free Speech Masterpiece (Cross-Post)
* Backpage Executives Must Face Money Laundering Charges Despite Section 230–People v. Ferrer
* How Section 230 Helps Sex Trafficking Victims (and SESTA Would Hurt Them) (guest blog post)
* Sen. Portman Says SESTA Doesn’t Affect the Good Samaritan Defense. He’s Wrong
* Senate’s “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017”–and Section 230’s Imminent Evisceration
* The “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017” Bill Would Be Bad News for Section 230
* WARNING: Draft “No Immunity for Sex Traffickers Online Act” Bill Poses Major Threat to Section 230
* The Implications of Excluding State Crimes from 47 U.S.C. § 230’s Immunity