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Senate launches bill to remove immunity for websites hosting illegal content, spurred by Backpage.com

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

"The Senate on Tuesday introduced an amendment to a law that protects the hosts of websites from liability for content posted by others to go after sites such as Backpage.com that have been criticized for facilitating child sex trafficking.

The legislation, along with a similar bill in the House, sets the stage for a battle between Congress and some of the Internet’s most powerful players, including Google and various free-speech advocates, who believe that Congress shouldn’t regulate Web content or try to force websites to police themselves more rigorously.

The bill, titled the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017, would amend the Communications Decency Act. It is sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and a bipartisan group of 19 other senators, some of whom served on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which focused on Backpage.com in its probe of online sex trafficking. The subcommittee, chaired by Portman, issued a report in January saying that Backpage 'knowingly facilitated the criminal sex trafficking of vulnerable women and young girls' by editing ads posted by pimps to remove offensive language."

Read the full article here. Find more information about this topic in our Human Trafficking collection.