Decoded: Technology Law Insights - Issue 12, December 2020

Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC

Loeffler, Cotton Release Bill to Hold Tech Companies Accountable for Child Exploitation, Allow Victims to Sue -

"It would amend the US code to strip Section 230 protections from tech companies."

Why this is important: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a provision best known for allowing companies to host user-generated content without fear of liability, has been under attack this past year for supposedly allowing companies to show favor to “liberal” speech over “conservative” speech. Many of the reforms directed to Section 230 have, thus, unsurprisingly focused on forcing companies to take a neutral approach. But, this reform bill from Senators Loeffler and Cotton focuses specifically on sexual exploitation of children. Under the proposed legislation, a new offense would create civil and criminal liability for interactive computer services that act in reckless disregard of conduct promoting or facilitating certain conduct best summarized as sexual exploitation of minors. This new civil and criminal liability also then would be codified as an exception to the Section 230 protections. Whether this will be adopted remains to be seen. But, it represents a new angle to Section 230 reform efforts that seem unlikely to go away any time soon.

Please see full Newsletter below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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