FEATURE ARTICLE

US EARN IT Act Aims to Weaken First and Fourth Amendment Rights
 
Stephen Lendman 
Date: 06-10-2020
Subject: United States

US EARN IT Act Aims to Weaken First and Fourth Amendment Rights

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)

Censorship is the new normal in the US. Dark forces in charge want unchallenged control of the message.

They're increasingly threatening speech, press, and academic freedoms — how all police states operate.

Tech giants Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others, along with establishment media, are complicit with a campaign to suppress content conflicting with the official narrative.

When truth-telling and dissent are considered threats to national security, free and open societies no longer exist.

It's the slippery slope where the US and other Western societies are heading, totalitarian rule for unchallenged control their aim.

S. 3398: Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies (EARN IT) Act was introduced in March by neocon Senator Lindsey Graham and likeminded bipartisan hardliners.

On the phony pretext of developing and mandating "best (online) practices," along with targeting "online child sexual exploitation, preventing, and for other purposes," the measure is one of a series congressional actions that aim for mass surveillance and to control the message.

The EARNS Act threatens online communications, including encryption technologies used to secure them, protecting privacy rights of users.

If enacted into law, violators of its provisions could result in loss of Telecommunication Act Section 230 immunity, leaving them vulnerable to government and/or civil suits. More on this below.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) slammed the unconstitutional measure, calling it a "serious threat to both free speech and security online," adding:

The draft bill (currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration) could let "the attorney general unilaterally dictate how online platforms and services must operate." 

"If those companies don't follow the Attorney General's rules, they could be on the hook for millions of dollars in civil damages and even state criminal penalties."

The measure "opens the door for the government to require new measures to screen users' speech and even backdoors to read your private communications."

Section 230 of the US 1996 Telecommunications Act provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an "interactive computer service" that publish information provided by third-party users.

In Reno v. ACLU (1997), the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that anti-indecency provisions of the 1996 Telecommunications Act violate core First Amendment rights. 

According to Free Press.net's Guarav Laroia:

"The EARN IT Act is constitutionally suspect." 

"It threatens key First and Fourth Amendment rights while failing to specify how it could or would administer the tests online entities need to pass to preserve those rights for themselves and their users."

"The measure (lets) government (act) as the arbiter of all communications and conversations that happen on the internet" — a power Trump regime AG William Barr and congressional hardliners seek.

It's a way to criminalize or otherwise neutralize online content opposed to the official narrative if authorities in Washington intend to use this power if gotten for this purpose — to counteract dissent.

Fight for the Future.org issued a statement, saying the following:

"(T)he EARN IT Act (aims to) give the Trump (regime) power to destroy essential encryption services, putting us all at risk of surveillance, censorship, human rights abuses, and other serious threats."

The measure "is a wolf in sheep's clothing." 

Graham earlier "threat(ened) Apple, Facebook, and…other tech compan(ies) that might refuse to kill encryption programs" that would block government access to private online communications, saying:

"You're going to find a way to do this or we're going to do it for you."

The latter is what the EARN IT Act is all about — "a thinly-veiled excuse to destroy privacy protections for everyday people like you and me."

Graham, likeminded congressional members, and AG Barr want digital backdoor access to all online communications that's unrelated to national security or otherwise protecting public welfare.

It's all about making greater police state powers the law of the land — a First and Fourth Amendment breach if successful.

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My two Wall Street books are timely reading:

"How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War"

https://www.claritypress.com/product/how-wall-street-fleeces-america/
 
"Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity"

https://www.claritypress.com/product/banker-occupation-waging-financial-war-on-humanity/