Ivanka Trump and Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, during a bipartisan round table discussion on sex trafficking with members of Congress and the private sector, March 13,in Washington, DC. RIP Craigslist personal .
If you are are not gravely concerned about the horrifying censorship that is happening right now, you should be. This the the most frightening thing I've ever seen in terms of the Internet. But the sex workers who use these sites, as well as organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, say the broadly written bill actually endangers sex workers, and restricts freedom of speech.
If Trump s SESTA into law, it could change that by allowing victims of sex trafficking to sue tech companies for allowing content that enabled sex trafficking to stay online. Other supporters include the unlikely duo of Ivanka Trump and Amy Schumer.
But because SESTA increases the risk of lawsuits, online platforms, especially the smaller ones, will likely be much stricter about what kind of content is on their sites.
The turning point, according to the Internet Association, a lobbying organization that represents multiple tech companies, was changes to the the wording of the bill that would allow tech platforms to use automated methods for screening and deleting sex-trafficking content without implicating themselves, according to Motherboard.
Still, sex workers say that incentivizing tech companies to remove posts about sex work could endanger both their livelihood and their safety. SESTA critics not only argue that the law will make consensual sex work more difficult and dangerous, but could also make it harder to locate people who are actually victims of trafficking because online records give law enforcement a way to track victims.
Erika G, who wished to remain anonymous as she is not authorized to speak on behalf of her employer, is an attorney who works with trafficked women. On Twitter, she told the story of a client she was trying to help, who sometimes, due to lack of money, returned to sex work, missed legal appointments, and stopped communicating.
Erika, who declined to share the name of the firm she works with, said that more than once she was only able to to find her client because her contact information was available on Back. Once we were finally able to get her an ID she was able to stabilize and start working.
Without Back I would have lost all contact with my client and she probably would not have been able to stabilize because of all the legal appointment she was missing. Advocate and sex worker partners I've been saying for years that there is a lot of benefit to keeping these internet providers active and the biggest reason has been tracking of victims. This uncertainty will inhibit the continued growth of the Internet as a place of creativity and innovation.
What company or companies will be the first subject of such a suit remains to be seen. Contact Caroline O'Donovan at caroline. Got a confidential tip?
Submit it here. A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see. Reply Retweet Favorite.
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