WHAT YOU CAN DO
JOIN THE BATTLE
Senators Portman, Blumenthal, McCain, McCaskill, Cornyn, Heitkamp, and others have recently filed a Senate amendment to Section 230 (in addition to a bipartisan bill filed by Representative Ann Wagner in the House). After an all-out offensive, Google and others have now joined in support. The bill just came out of committee and is headed to a full Senate vote. Please join us by contacting your Senator/Representative to support amending Section 230 here: online form.
In the House, Representative Ann Wagner originally filed a House amendment to amend Section 230. However, that House amendment was completely replaced behind closed doors, with no input on the specific language from the NGO community, victims or survivors. This new bill strips away civil remedies from survivors as well as states attorneys general. Please join us in opposing this substitute. Read also this joint letter from over 100 anti-trafficking organizations, service providers, survivors, and prestigious advocates asking house leadership to seek a “SESTA-like” negotiated, bipartisan solution that includes a victim’s right to sue websites that facilitate human trafficking and this letter to Senate leadership asking that SESTA be brought to a vote immediately.
See Mary Mazzio’s op-ed in The Hill for what happened in the House.
GOOGLE and TECH COMPLICITY
Perhaps one of the most stunning discoveries in the making of this film was discovering that Google and others in the tech community have been actively funding organizations involved in supporting Backpage’s legal defense. Recent audio surfaced of an event where Google lawyers invited Backpage lawyers to discuss Section 230. Listen at 53 minutes in (where the Google lawyer laughs as she introduces the Backpage cases.) In a second piece of audio, Google lawyers met with Backpage General Counsel, Liz McDougall, to discuss best practices to dismiss Jane Doe and other Section 230 claims. These pieces of audio reveal that Google’s support of Backpage is greater than originally believed.
See also this clip from Google’s annual shareholder’s meeting, where Google executives respond to Nacole’s request that the company stop supporting Backpage. See also this blistering report from Consumer Watchdog which outlines Google’s ties to Backpage.
Google, according to a study by a Harvard Business School professor, has 1 billion reasons to fight any amendment to Section 230. Why? Because it earns more than $1 billion annually in illegal ads.
Finally, a new scholarly legal journal article on the need to amend Section 230 was just published in July.
Special protection for fledging internet companies trying to filter content in good faith made sense back in 1996 because there were no tools to manage large amounts of content. Fast forward to 2017. Section 230 has not only given new media a competitive advantage over old media (which is now suffering), but the Googles and other online companies can no longer profit handsomely from paid content, and still claim no responsibility for the hard from that content. Whether it be child-sex trafficking ads, fake news, or Russian ads.
SIGN a CHANGE.ORG PETITION
Nacole and Dr. Oz have launched a Change.org petition, asking the tech community to step forward and support the children who have been fighting for justice. The tech community, particularly Google, has been, for years, funding groups who are actively involved in Backpage’s legal defense. Please sign this petition and circulate among your networks.
CONTACT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Please join us by contacting your Senator/Representative to support amending Section 230 here: online form.
If you’d prefer to write a paper letter, consider this template: “Dear Member of Congress; Children are advertised for commercial sex on Backpage, which, according to a Senate Report, is the market leader for sex ads. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children reports that 73% of all its cases of online child-sex trafficking have occurred on Backpage. Several of these child victims have filed lawsuits against Backpage seeking to determine the extent of Backpage’s liability for this harm. However, most of these cases have been dismissed under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects websites from third party content. However, in Doe v. Backpage, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals radically expanded Section 230, ruling that even if Backpage had engaged in criminal activity by participating in and profiting from child-sex trafficking, Section 230 still required the case to be dismissed. The judges in the case specifically said that the children needed a legislative remedy. Meaning that Section 230 needs to be reviewed and amended to make it clear that judges can not dismiss lawsuits where the publisher is alleged to have engaged in criminal conduct. We do not understand how it can be legal in the United States to host advertisements of children for sale. Please support the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017.”
CONTACT THE LARGEST DONORS TO THE CDT
The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, two high profile internet freedom groups, have publicly embraced and defended Backpage. They have also actively intervened in the cases filed by the Jane Doe children, filing briefs in support of Backpage. Technology companies are the primary donors of both organizations. In 2014, the largest donor to the CDT was Google (but other significant donors include Facebook and Microsoft). Meaning that the funds from these companies are going to support Backpage (against the Jane Doe children). Consider writing letters to the CEOs of these companies asking them to (a) disavow the intervention by the EFF and CDT in these lawsuits filed by the children, and (b) discuss legislative changes to Section 230 to incentivize websites to better protect children from online sex trafficking and other online crimes.
Google: Sundar Pichai, CEO. c/o Google, 1600 Apitheatre Parkway, Mountain View CA 94043
Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg, CEO. c/o Facebook, 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Microsoft: Satya Nadella, CEO. c/o Microsoft, One Microsoft Way, Redmond WA 98502
@MissingKids estimates that 1 out of every 5 underage runaways is sex trafficked. #SpeakOutFightBack www.IamJaneDoeFilm.com
@HHSgov says kids are targeted for trafficking in malls, bus stops, and fast-food restaurants. #SpeakOutFightBack www.IamJaneDoeFilm.com
@MissingKids says that 73% of all suspected child sex trafficking cases have a link to Backpage. #SpeakOutFightBack IamJaneDoeFilm.com
We, too, cherish internet freedom, but need safeguards to protect children from online harm. #SpeakOutFightBack IamJaneDoeFilm.com
Section 230 is different from the 1st Amendment. See more at www.IamJaneDoeFilm.com
The law has not kept pace with evolving technology. #SpeakOutFightBack IAmJaneDoeFilm.com
See the film
I AM JANE DOE is now available on Netflix, iTunes, Vimeo, Google Play, Amazon, and DVD. 50% of all profits from this project will be donated back to support services and prevention efforts for child sex trafficking. The film is now available for events and fundraising. Please email [email protected] or call 781-239-7000 for details.
HELP ERADICATE CHILD-SEX TRAFFICKING
SUSPECTED CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING
If you suspect a child is being sexually exploited or trafficked, please call 1-800-THE-LOST or 1 (888) 373-7888.
CONSIDER A DONATION TO THE ORGANIZATIONS BELOW