Commitment to transparency: Section 230 & EARN IT Act
Open letter regarding Section 230, the EARN IT Act, and how we’re responding
Recently, there has been an increase in concerns regarding the EARN IT Act (Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act), which has the potential to modify Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
As it currently stands, Section 230 currently reads “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”. This means that service providers such as Twitter, Meta, Discord, WarpLight, and others are, in a way, ‘separated’ from user generated content, and cannot be held legally responsible for it.
However, the EARN IT Act is considered as a method to reduce and / or eliminate child sexual abuse material (CSAM) from service providers, implying that under the current conditions of the law, that “(service providers) have failed to act” in response to CSAM.
The EARN IT Act would remove the aforementioned protections provided by Section 230, which would result in service providers being responsible for content that their users may publish on their respective platforms. It is believed that this would also result in those service providers being held liable in legal contexts, such as fees or other fines incurred after the potential revision to Section 230.
In addition, certain groups are extremely concerned about the potential changes it may bring, mentioning that it threatens their freedom of speech. The EARN IT Act also seems to indicate that service providers who utilize encryption methods to secure their user’s communications may also loose their liability protections previously enabled by Section 230. This change may also harm the secure communication methods that certain groups utilize to transfer important information between themselves.
We do not support the EARN IT Act and any changes that may harm Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that may result in weakened freedom of speech and user-protecting functionalities such as encryption.
At WarpLight, we strongly believe in our motto, “For everyone, everywhere.” We also believe that everyone, not just our users, deserve secure, privacy-respecting services that not only protects their day-to-day communications, but also their freedoms of speech and expression. This is at the core of our design, both in form and function, as well as in our services such as Atmos. With the upcoming release of our secure instant messaging service, we are also planning on utilizing encryption methods to protect our user’s messages end-to-end.
While we strongly support freedom of speech, we still remain committed to taking action against offending content which may appear on our platforms, such as CSAM or other extreme content. WarpLight Guardian is our method of securely moderating our services with a focus on human-centric moderation, rather than relying entirely on automated reporting and flagging. Moderation capabilities are built into each of our services, which can enable users to immediately report any offending content they may come across directly to our moderators. Once it’s displayed in Guardian, our moderators can quickly take action against it or escalate it for further review.
WarpLight developers and Guardian moderators are also prohibited from disclosing or sharing any information discovered within the moderation network with anyone else, unless it is deemed absolutely necessary (for example, if there is a credible, extreme threat to human life, following review by qualified personnel.) We take user privacy very seriously, and this applies to our moderation systems as well.
With the help of WarpLight Guardian and easily accessible reporting tools within all of our services, we feel that we are well equipped to moderate our own services, while also protecting the rights of our users, no matter where they may be.
If you have not done so already, consider making your voices heard in response to the possible alterations to Section 230, as it is the vital thread that makes the internet truly unique for all of us.