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In reversal, US internet firms back bill to fight online sex trafficking

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Major U.S. internet firms on Friday said they would support legislation to make it easier to penalize operators of websites that facilitate online sex trafficking, marking a sharp reversal for Silicon Valley on an issue long considered a top policy priority.

The decision to endorse a measure advancing in the U.S. Senate could clear the way for Congress to pass the first rewrite of a law adopted 21 years ago that is widely considered a bedrock legal shield for the internet industry.

Michael Beckerman, president of the Internet Association, said in a statement it supported a bipartisan proposal advancing in the U.S. Senate making it easier for states and sex-trafficking victims to sue social media networks, advertisers and others that fail to keep exploitative material off their platforms.

“Important changes made to (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) will grant victims the ability to secure the justice they deserve, allow internet platforms to continue their work combating human trafficking, and protect good actors in the ecosystem,” Beckerman said. His organization represents tech companies including Facebook , Amazon  and Alphabet’s Google.

This week, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee said it would vote next week on the bill authored by Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Richard Blumenthal.

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The internet industry has fought such a change in the law for years, but now Washington is stepping up scrutiny on the sector on a range of policy issues after decades of hands-off regulation.

U.S. technology companies had long opposed any legislation seeking to amend Section 230 of the decades-old Communications Decency Act, arguing it is a bedrock legal protection for the internet that could thwart digital innovation and prompt endless litigation.

Bill negotiators agreed to make a handful of technical changes to the draft legislation, which Beckerman said helped earn support of the internet companies.

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Those changes include clarity that criminal charges are based on violations of federal human trafficking law and that a standard for liability requires a website “knowingly” assisting of facilitating trafficking.

(Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by David Gregorio)


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Trump tries to change the subject by blaming Obama — then accidentally admits he’s putting kids in ‘cages’

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President Donald Trump was the target of a Democratic press conference with four Congresswomen of color who were calling him out for racist tweets telling them to go back to their countries.

The women attacked every policy that Trump seems to be losing on. Trump seemed to try and pivot to another issue entirely, blaming former President Barack Obama for building the cages that he's putting children in after he takes them from their parents.

The Obama Administration built the Cages, not the Trump Administration! DEMOCRATS MUST GIVE US THE VOTES TO CHANGE BAD IMMIGRATION LAWS.

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CNN reporter slams Trump with a devastating roundup of his most racist statements

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On Monday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," as fallout continues from President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four progressive black and Hispanic women lawmakers, White House correspondent Jim Acosta showed viewers a supercut of some of the president's most racist behavior in recent years.

"President Trump is doubling down on his racist tweet aimed at four Democratic women of color in Congress," said Acosta. "The president is dumping more fuel on the firestorm he touched off by telling those members of Congress, if they aren't happy in this country, they can leave. President Trump is defending his racist attacks on Twitter, not concerned that his tweets aimed at four women of color in Congress may appeal to white nationalists."

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‘We will not be silenced’: Young women of color in The Squad refuse to back down in the face of Trump’s racism

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Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) promised on Monday that the young women in Congress known as "The Squad" would not back down in the face of racist attacks from President Donald Trump.

Pressley spoke at a press conference with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

"I also would like to just underscore the fact that despite the occupant of the White House's attempts to marginalize us and to silence us, please know that we are more than four people. We ran on a mandate to advocate for and represent those ignored, left out and left out and left behind," Pressley said.

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