On Thursday, February 10, 2022, the Earn It Act of 2022 was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by unanimous consent. Although no senators on the Judiciary Committee objected to the bill’s passage to the floor, multiple lawmakers, including Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), and Alex Padilla (D-CA), echoed concerns raised by some technologists, industry groups, civil liberties advocates, and LGBTQ interest groups who believe that the bill threatens to erode privacy and free expression online.
Under the Earn It Act, tech companies would lose some long-standing protections under Section 230, finally giving victims of child pornography and online exploitation a chance to pursue redress in court. The bill, which was first introduced in 2020, would also create a national commission of law enforcement, abuse survivors, and industry experts to develop best practices to address online child sex abuse.
In addition, the Senate Judiciary Committee also unanimously advanced the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act of 2021 which will eliminate the statute of limitations in Masha’s Law (18 U.S.C. 2255) for victims of over a dozen federal child sex abuse offenses.
Under current federal law, no statute of limitations bars the prosecution of criminal offenses involving child sex abuse anytime while the child victim is alive or 10 years after the offense, whichever is later. However, statutes of limitations remain an obstacle for survivors under Masha’s Law and this bill will eliminate that SOL.