Joining Hawley is Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who is co-sponsoring the bi-partisan proposal.
Hawley, who has been fighting to increase penalities for possession of child pornography over the past few years, set differences aside after battling it out with Durbin during the confirmation hearings of US Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, and co-sponsored the bill which unanimously cleared the Judiciary Committee last week, St. Louis Post Dispatch reports.
The bill, otherwise known as the Strengthening Transparency and Obligation to Protect Children Suffering from Abuse and Mistreatment (STOP CSAM) Act, would strip tech companies of legal immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which broadly protects social media platforms from being sued for the material people post to their sites, according to The Hill.
"It creates a right to sue for victims that can get into court and sue the tech companies. It penetrates the Section 230 shield, and it's an unlimited right to sue — punitive damages, compensatory damages," Hawley told The Hill.
He then predicted that the "tech companies will now come after it big time because it would be the first time we’ve had something like this where they can be held liable."If signed into law, victims will be allowed to sue online websites that knowingly host the content.
Hawley was thrilled to see the bill make it out of the committee and told the Washington Times, "I've just become convinced that maybe the only way to get the attention of these platforms is to give individuals the right to get into court and to have their day in court."
Durbin also expressed his approval and said that Congress showed "a unanimity of purpose," according to Washington Times.
On Tuesday, Senator Josh Hawley introduced legislation that would implement harsher penalties for those convicted of possessing child pornography, and prohibit judges from issuing sentences lower than the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The bill is called the "Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today Act," or the "PROTECT Act Bill of 2022," and is cosponsored by Send. Thom Tillis, Mike Lee, and Rick Scott.While serving in US Congress, Hawley has made it his mission to combat child pornography, introducing multiple articles of legislation over the past few years in an effort to protect the most vulnerable of victims.
Last year, the Missouri representative introduced the "Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today Act," or the "PROTECT Act Bill of 2022," which would implement harsher penalties for those convicted of possessing child pornography, and prohibit judges from issuing sentences lower than the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.The STOP CSAM Act now makes its way to the US Senate floor for a vote.
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