President Donald J. Trump Signs H.R. 1865 into Law – Law and Order are being restored as President Trump signs Executive Orders to protect the lives and dignity of the American people, most specifically women and children who have become victims of sex and trafficking crimes.
The purpose behind this law is to make it easier for state prosecutors and sex-trafficking victims to sue social media networks, advertisers and others that kept exploitative material on their platforms, although victims would be required to show websites knowingly facilitated sex trafficking.
Law makers sharpen their scrutiny on technology companies, which have largely omitted regulation, for their use of privacy protections and consumer data. Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook Inc, appeared in D.C. this past week with his entourage of security to testify before lawmakers.
Shown Here: Congress.Gov
Passed House amended (02/27/2018)
Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017
(Sec. 2) This bill expresses the sense of Congress that section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 was not intended to provide legal protection to websites that unlawfully promote and facilitate prostitution and websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims. Section 230 limits the legal liability of interactive computer service providers or users for content they publish that was created by others.
(Sec. 3) The bill amends the federal criminal code to add a new section that imposes penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to 10 years, or both—on a person who, using a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service (or attempts or conspires to do so) to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person.
Additionally, it establishes enhanced penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to 25 years, or both—for a person who commits the offense in one of the following aggravating circumstances: (1) promotes or facilitates the prostitution of five or more persons, or (2) acts with reckless disregard that such conduct contributes to sex trafficking.
A person injured by an aggravated offense may recover damages and attorneys’ fees in a federal civil action.
A court must order mandatory restitution, in addition to other criminal or civil penalties, for an aggravated offense in which a person acts with reckless disregard that such conduct contributes to sex trafficking.
A defendant may assert, as an affirmative defense, that the promotion or facilitation of prostitution is legal in the jurisdiction where it was targeted.
(Sec. 4) The bill amends the Communications Act of 1934 to declare that section 230 does not limit: (1) a federal civil claim for conduct that constitutes sex trafficking, (2) a federal criminal charge for conduct that constitutes sex trafficking, or (3) a state criminal charge for conduct that promotes or facilitates prostitution in violation of this bill.
The amendments apply regardless of whether alleged conduct occurs before, on, or after this bill’s enactment.
(Sec. 5) The bill amends the federal criminal code to define a phrase related to the prohibition on sex trafficking. Currently, it a crime to knowingly benefit from participation in a venture that engages in sex trafficking. This bill defines “participation in a venture” to mean knowingly assisting, supporting, or facilitating a sex trafficking violation.
(Sec. 6) A state may file a federal civil action to enforce federal sex trafficking violations.
(Sec. 7) This section states that this bill does not limit federal or state civil actions or criminal prosecutions that are not preempted by section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934.
(Sec. 8) The Government Accountability Office must report to Congress on information related to damages and mandatory restitution for aggravated offenses under this bill.
Some technology companies fear the bill could signal more efforts to tighten regulation on the industry. Silicon Valley has opposed efforts to rewrite the Communications Decency Act, protecting companies from liability for content posted by their users over a twenty year growth span.
The Bill, nicknamed “FOSTA” for it’s title, “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act,” goes into effect immediately, but it’s impact was already being seen around the internet as sites shut down sex related areas and stopped accepting sex related advertising.
The government also shut down Backpage’s classified ad websites around the world and moved to seize houses and bank accounts around the U.S. The signing of this Bill comes just days after seven executives for Backpage.com were arrested on a 93-count indictment that alleges the website facilitated prostitution and laundered tens of millions of dollars in profits, and that teenaged girls were sold for sex on the site. Some of those girls were killed.
Federal indictment of Backpage officials unsealed Monday described one girl who was prostituted on Backpage from ages 14 to 19, saying she was raped and tortured to perform sex acts at gunpoint. Other horror stories emerged from websites of young girls trafficked for months and even years, created a mounting tide of frustration that the websites couldn’t be forced to stop hosting the ads and that the victims couldn’t sue the sites for damages.
Critics still feel the new law creates too much opportunity for lawsuits against websites for content they didn’t post and didn’t know about. Emma Llansó of the Center for Democracy & Technology said Craigslist has already shut down its personals, missed connections and dating sections, many of which have long had innocent intents. In those sections, Craigslist posted a note which reads, “US Congress just passed HR 1865, ‘FOSTA,’, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.
Craigslist, Reddit prep for legal woes from FOSTA sex-trafficking bill
A number of websites, including Craigslist, began shutting down sections that might be construed as sex related after the bill passed the Senate last month. Civil liberties advocates attacked the bill as too broad, creating new liability for websites that had previously been protected by the Communications Decency Act for content posted by third parties.
Any tool or service can be misused. We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking Craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.”
Craigslist isn’t the only website closing departments. Reddit jumped on the bandwagon as well, closing Escorts, SugarDaddy, Hookers, Male Escorts, and many other boards in response to the new bill. The site also updated its content policy to ban transactions for “certain goods and services.” These include guns, drugs, stolen items, personal information, falsified official documents or currency, and paid services involving sex.
US Congress just passed HR 1865, “FOSTA”, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.
Any tool or service can be misused. We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.
To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
47 U.S.C. § 230, a Provision of the Communication Decency Act
Tucked inside the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 is one of the most valuable tools for protecting freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet: Section 230. https://www.eff.org/issues/cda