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EARN IT Act Remains a Threat to Privacy & Free Expression Online

CDT Joins LGBTQ+ and Other Human Rights Groups Urging Congress to reject dangerous and flawed bill

(WASHINGTON)–The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) and a coalition of 132 civil society organizations are urging Senators to oppose the EARN IT Act of 2023 (S.1207) because the bill threatens free expression, the ability of internet users to access encrypted services, and child abuse prosecutions.

The coalition, which in addition to CDT, includes the ACLU, Amnesty International USA, GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, and others, argues that, while child exploitation is repugnant and must be addressed, the EARN IT Act would actually undermine the online safety of both children and adults.

CDT President and CEO Alexandra Reeve Givens says:

“The EARN IT Act remains a fatally flawed approach to addressing the spread of child sexual abuse material on the internet. We continue to believe that making it harder for children and adults to access information and more dangerous for everyone to communicate online will ultimately harm children, not help them.

The EARN IT Act makes providers who offer end-to-end encrypted services legally vulnerable. Everyone who uses the internet to communicate, conduct business, or even just browse the web relies on encryption to keep their information private and secure. Encryption is especially important to communities with a special need to protect their private and sensitive communications such as activists, journalists, immigrant communities, and even parents and children.”

This is now the third time the Senate has considered the EARN IT Act. As CDT and numerous other civil society organizations have explained, the EARN IT Act would result in online censorship disproportionately impacting marginalized communities and jeopardize access to encrypted services. The most recent bill is identical to a version introduced in 2022 and opposed by a broad coalition of human rights organizations.

Read the full coalition letter.


The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) is the leading nonpartisan, nonprofit organization fighting to advance civil rights and civil liberties in the digital age. We shape technology policy, governance, and design with a focus on equity and democratic values. Established in 1994, CDT has been a trusted advocate for digital rights since the earliest days of the internet.