Department of Justice wants tech companies to do more to curb online child sex abuse

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – There are new efforts to fight online child sex abuse.

The Department of Justice announced a new initiative called the EARN IT Act. It will ensure tech companies do more to keep children safe online.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced the proposals jointly with partners from the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

“We agreed that a more robust global response toward online child sexual abuse was necessary to protect children around the world,” said Barr. “To make sure there was no safe space on the internet for offenders to operate.”

Under the current law, online platforms like Facebook and Twitter, face limited legal responsibility for child pornography posted on their websites.

This bill would require tech companies earn that protection.

It also asks for establishing a commission to measure whether tech companies are meeting the goals of the guidelines put in place.

There were 11 guidelines announced, including asking companies to prevent known and new forms of child sexual abuse from being accessed on their platforms. That includes viral videos that show abuse that continue to be shared. Sites need to find a way to stop that from happening. Companies also need to create child-specific safety measures and ways to stop livestreaming from being used for abuse.

The bill faces opposition from some in the tech industry. Some saying it is deeply flawed, counterproductive and will impact the free speech of all Americans.

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