Info@NationalCyberSecurity
Info@NationalCyberSecurity

‘Kids Online Safety Act’ gains momentum in Senate as uproar rages over sex predators using AI-generated deepfake nudes | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


A fresh legislative push to hold tech giants accountable for child safety is gaining momentum on Capitol Hill – as public outrage grows over online sex predators and AI-generated “deepfake” nudes whose victims have included Taylor Swift.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is among those calling for a total repeal of Section 230 – a longstanding, controversial law that shields social-media platforms from being sued for content that their users post. But industry insiders say another aggressive proposal, the Kids Online Safety Act, or KOSA, is the best bet to actually become law.

The bipartisan bill would impose a legal “duty of care” on tech platforms to protect minors from dangers including harassment, bullying, anxiety and sex abuse – or face enforcement action by the Federal Trade Commission. KOSA is a virtual cinch for Senate approval, with a whopping 62 senators — including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) co-sponsoring the bill as of mid-February.

In a surprise twist, smaller social media platforms X and Snap have broken ranks to support KOSA. Microsoft, which does not operate a social media platform but is facing a looming regulatory crackdown on artificial intelligence, is also in favor of the bill.

“It’s a sign that the Kids Online Safety Act is moving,” one tech policy insider who requested anonymity told The Post. “It’s better to be on the side of kids than being seen against them in a battle they probably lost already.”

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to the family members of kids who took their lives as a result of social media abuse. TASOS KATOPODIS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to the family members of kids who took their lives as a result of social media abuse. TASOS KATOPODIS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

On the other side, Fight For The Future — a digital rights advocacy nonprofit — is among the critics who have claimed that KOSA could be weaponized by state attorneys general to suppress viewpoints they oppose and would essentially require the mass surveillance of online activity for underage users.

Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sought to address those concerns by releasing an updated version of KOSA this month that established the FTC, not states, as the key enforcement mechanism – though some detractors remain dissatisfied.

When reached for comment, TikTok said it is “reviewing” the new version of KOSA released last week. TikTok CEO Shou Chew has said the company would be able to support the old version of the bill “with some changes.”

“TikTok strictly prohibits all forms of [child sexual abuse material] and proactively prevents and reports this material to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement. “We continue to make deliberate design choices that help ensure our app is inhospitable for anyone seeking to harm teens.”

Mark Zuckerberg was the star witness at a high-profile Senate hearing in January. WILL OLIVER/EPA-EFE/ShutterstockMark Zuckerberg was the star witness at a high-profile Senate hearing in January. WILL OLIVER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Mark Zuckerberg was the star witness at a high-profile Senate hearing in January. WILL OLIVER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Representatives for Meta, Snap and X did not return requests for comment.

Lawmakers renewed calls to end Section 230 or otherwise remove tech liability shields during a high-profile Senate hearing in late January, which was attended by the parents of kids who committed suicide due to “financial sextortion” schemes and other horrific online abuse.

Two other bipartisan bills discussed at the hearing – the Earn It Act and the Stop CSAM Act – would revoke Section 230 protections and allow victims to sue tech companies over child sexual abuse material posted on their platforms. Those bills have less broad support than KOSA.

Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to introduce a bill to repeal Section 230 in the coming weeks. REUTERSSen. Lindsey Graham plans to introduce a bill to repeal Section 230 in the coming weeks. REUTERS

Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to introduce a bill to repeal Section 230 in the coming weeks. REUTERS

Nonetheless, Sen. Lindsey Graham – who co-authored the Earn It Act and told Zuckerberg at the hearing that he has “blood on [his] hands” – will introduce a separate bill to repeal Section 230 entirely in the “coming weeks,” he told The Post. The bill will be similar to one he introduced in 2021, which never received a vote.

“There is no regulatory body dealing with these companies who are the biggest, most profitable companies in the history of the world,” Graham said in a statement. “They can’t be sued because of Section 230. Of all the people we could give blanket liability protection too, this would be the last group I would pick.”

Sen. Blackburn, a lead sponsor for KOSA, said Section 230 reform to “protect diverse voices from big tech censorship, as well as preventing online child exploitation” was “long overdue.”

Sen. Josh Hawley had a viral clash with Mark Zuckerberg at the Senate hearing in January. REUTERSSen. Josh Hawley had a viral clash with Mark Zuckerberg at the Senate hearing in January. REUTERS

Sen. Josh Hawley had a viral clash with Mark Zuckerberg at the Senate hearing in January. REUTERS

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), another longtime critic of the clause who pressed Zuckerberg to explain why Meta hasn’t compensated victims of online abuse, said “it is past time for people to have their day in court.”

“No one should have their videos, their images, taken and altered without their say,” said Hawley. “Victims of exploitation should be able to sue the tech companies that allow this to happen, and receive compensation. Enough is enough.”

Experts have pointed to tech liability shields as a key obstacle when people victimized by nonconsensual, sexually explicit AI deepfake images, such as Taylor Swift, seek legal recourse when the graphic nudes spread like wildfire on social media platforms.

Calls to re-examine Section 230 have resurfaced amid the rise of AI deepfakes — including disturbing images of Taylor Swift. REUTERSCalls to re-examine Section 230 have resurfaced amid the rise of AI deepfakes — including disturbing images of Taylor Swift. REUTERS

Calls to re-examine Section 230 have resurfaced amid the rise of AI deepfakes — including disturbing images of Taylor Swift. REUTERS

There are multiple legislative proposals to deal with AI deepfakes – including the bipartisan DEFIANCE Act, which would create a “federal civil remedy” for victims, and the AI Labeling Act, introduced by US Rep. Thomas Kean (R-NJ) to ensure deepfakes are easily identifiable..

During the January hearing, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Section 230 had allowed “big tech to grow into the most profitable industry in the history of capitalism without fear of liability for unsafe practices.” Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse asked tech executives to submit in writing what exemptions to Section 230 that would be “willing to accept.”

While critics widely agree that the coverage provided by Section 230 itself is far too broad and woefully outdated, tech giants like Meta and X have argued for years that a full repeal of the measure would make it all but impossible for them to do business.

The Kids Online Safety Act would impose a “duty of care” on Big Tech firms. Rawpixel.com – stock.adobe.comThe Kids Online Safety Act would impose a “duty of care” on Big Tech firms. Rawpixel.com – stock.adobe.com

The Kids Online Safety Act would impose a “duty of care” on Big Tech firms. Rawpixel.com – stock.adobe.com

Jason Citron, CEO of the social media app Discord, agreed that Section 230 “needs to be updated” and called it a “very old law.”

“We look forward to continued constructive engagement with policymakers to consider how we can make Section 230 more effective for today’s internet ecosystem, while preserving the elements that have enabled so many diverse online communities to launch and thrive,” a Discord spokesperson said in a statement to The Post.

One Beltway political adviser said those who want to repeal Section 230 entirely face an uphill battle, given the current legislative quagmire in Congress. Many of the free-speech concerns that have stymied attempts at reform for years still haven’t changed.

“I think it’s going to be tough for lawmakers who can barely agree on a CR to fund the government to figure out how to properly thread the needle on regulating Big Tech companies – with a slim majority for Dems in the Senate and Republicans in the House in an election year,” the political adviser said.



Source link

——————————————————–


Click Here For The Original Source.

National Cyber Security

FREE
VIEW