Tell Congress: Don't Outlaw Encrypted Applications

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It shouldn't be against the law to provide an encrypted app. But if the STOP CSAM Act passes, it would make it a crime to offer encryption, because it could "facilitate" the sharing of illegal child abuse material (CSAM)—even if there's no evidence that a platform or service intended to do so. The law would undermine digital security for all internet users, impacting private messaging and email app providers, social media platforms, cloud storage providers, and many other internet intermediaries and online services.

Free speech would also be at risk. STOP CSAM would create a carveout in Section 230, the law that protects our online speech, exposing platforms to civil lawsuits for merely hosting a platform where part of the illegal conduct occurred. This carveout is similar to the disastrous SESTA-FOSTA law, which passed in 2018, and immediately resulted in companies removing online content and spaces for discussion in order to protect themselves from potential liability.

Congress already has tools in place to remove CSAM from the internet: current law prohibits the distribution of CSAM, and since 2008, providers have faced large fines if they fail to report CSAM after receiving actual knowledge of its presence on their platforms. Yet we know of no case where the federal government has ever enforced this provision. Congress must not pass this broad and dangerous law, and instead must use the tools that are already in place rather than outlawing important encrypted services.

Tell Congress: don't pass this law that would undermine security and free speech online.


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