September 6, 2017

Background: Google’s opposition to Congressional amendments to the Communications Decency Act

In 2017, two Bills were introduced in Congress (S. 1693 and H.R. 1865) to amend 47 USC 230 of the Communications Decency Act.  While NCOSE has reservations about the language of these Bills and hopes changes will be made during the legislative process, we laud the Bill’s sponsors and support their efforts.

Unfortunately, some in the technology community, including Google, are fighting any changes to Section 230 – even if the changes would lead to a drastic reduction in online sex trafficking.

Google has blitzed Congressional offices with this email asking your Senators and Representatives to oppose S. 1693 and H.R. 1865.

Moreover, a coalition of groups headed by Consumer Watchdog recently released a report, entitled How Google’s Backing of Backpage Protects Child Sex Trafficking, which states in part, “An analysis of public records, tax documents and legal filings and other publicly-available documents shows Google has financed and supported a broad array of groups and individuals who have fought aggressively to thwart legal challenges to Backpage’s business model.”

In addition, a Harvard professor alleges that Google earned over a billion dollars in revenue from unlawful advertising that Google failed to block, which included ads for child sex trafficking.

Reportedly, lobbyists for Google also helped eliminate a version of a bill that would have required firms to determine the age of people appearing in their online adult ads.

Corporate profits are never more important than the lives of children and adults who are victims of online sex trafficking. Google and others in the tech industry should change their position on this crucial issue and support amending the Communications Decency Act.



Lisa Thompson

Lisa L. Thompson, Vice President of Research and Education, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Vice President and Director of the NCOSE Research Institute

As Vice President of Research and Education for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Lisa conducts policy analysis and advocacy, advances understanding of pornography’s public health harms, and liaises with public officials, advocates, and academics to advance strategies combating the web of sexual exploitation, including pornography, stripping, prostitution, sexual trafficking, sexual assault, and more.

Lisa joined NCOSE following two years with World Hope International where as Director of Anti-Trafficking, Lisa oversaw sex trafficking recovery programs in Cambodia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Lisa is a contributing author to Hands that Heal: International Curriculum for Caregivers of Trafficking Survivors, as well as the book Global Perspectives on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:  Europe Latin America, North America, and Global. Lisa also routinely speaks and trains on sexual exploitation topics for a diverse range of audiences. Lisa served for more than 12 years as the Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking for The Salvation Army USA National Headquarters.

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