Senate Passes Bill On Sex-trafficking That May Result to Online Censorship

On Wednesday, the Senate of the United States of America passed the controversial Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). The said bill now heads to the White House where Donald Trump, the US President, is expected to sign it. While some groups such as the Internet Association have supported the said bill, other organisations have come out against it saying that the said bill will lead to online censorship and make it harder to find and prosecute the sex traffickers.

Those who have spoken out against the SESTA include the ACLU, the National Organization for Women, the Department of Justice, the EFF, as well as a variety of organisations of sex worker rights and groups of the victims of sex trafficking.

What they will do is amend section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — a part of the legislation that protects internet companies from liabilities for speech that are generated by users. SESTA will stop these companies from being protected by the law if they knowingly support sex trafficking. However, groups such as Wikimedia and the EFF have contended that such a law might only protect huge companies while the smaller ones could stand to be harmed irreparably.

Ivanka Trump, the daughter of Donald Trump, has supported the said measure, expressing in a tweet her support of a vote to pass the bill yesterday. The EFF, on the other hand, tweeted that today was “a dark day for the internet.”