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privacy rights blog

Staying Up to Date

 

New Law Punishes Tech Companies for Sex Trafficking

Yesterday President Trump signed a new law to punish websites for sex trafficking called The Allow States and Victims to Fight On-Line Sex Trafficking Act.  If a user posts something inappropriate, the website owner could be held liable for it. It will be easier for state prosecutors and sex trafficking victims to sue social media networks, advertisers and others that keep exploitive material on their platforms.  The legal proof that would be needed for liability would be that the website owner knowingly facilitated sex trafficking. 

Note that Craigslist has already been prompted to delete all its personal ads and is now shut down due to the inappropriate content being posted there.  Backpage.com, also a type of classified advertising website, has also been seized for sex-trafficking and federal charges have been issued.

So how do website owners and tech companies protect themselves from lawsuits?  How do they ensure that they are not "knowingly facilitating" sex trafficking?  What internal process do they need?  Should they add or strengthen their terms of use? 

More on this in follow-up blog posts.