tv The Communicators Online Sex Trafficking Bills CSPAN November 13, 2017 12:09pm-12:46pm EST
on the floor. today the newest member, utah republican john curtis, will be sworn in. lighthouse coverage on c-span. the senate continues work on executive and judicial nominations. life separate coverage starting at 4:00 p.m. on c-span2. >> watched c-span this week as congress debates tax form and the senate finance committee reviews its bill monday at 3:00 p.m. eastern live coverage on c-span3 the house debates its bill on thursday. live coverage on c-span. get details about both bills at c-span .org/congress and listen to live coverage of tax form using the free c-span radio app. >> representative and wagner, republican from missouri has authored a good bill to regulate
online trafficking. it would amend the communications decency act of 1996, specifically section 230 of that act. she is our guest on the weekends. representative wagner, before we learn about your proposal explain what the medications decency act and section 230 are to this was an act done over 20 years ago in 1996 billy at the dawn of the internet. it was to make sure that good samaritans and those that are posting would not that things online would not be subject to certain lawsuits and these nature. again, this is something done over 20 years ago and what the court have done of late is asked congress to come in vis-à-vis the issue of sex trafficking and human trafficking and clarify the communications decency act years later one would be
affected by a section 230 and what kind of copies would it be google, craigslist, backpage? >> guest: actually, many different actors to be affected by the medication the act. but what we're doing with my piece of legislation is to make sure that were very narrowly going in and amending section 230 to make sure that congressional intent is clear when it comes to the issue of sex trafficking. right now one of these online internet actors and providers website like backpage .com and a whole host of others that had been blossoming sadly over the last handful of years to make sure they cannot hide behind the communications decency act and its community one the fight online at.
>> host: one you are working on how would you amend the indications decency act? >> guest: it goes on narrowly and makes clear and add sex trafficking into the medications decency act and says that they are not in these websites that are knowing in a reckless way posting information especially about underage children that they would not be able to use that immunity and hide behind section 230 when it comes to criminal law. we are going after these criminals both at the state and local level and at the federal level civilly and criminally to make sure that we shut down these bad actors. we have seen this over time trafficking move from the streets frankly to the internet. the national center for missing and exploited children has made it very clear that in the last several years the issue of child sex trafficking has exploded
846% and 81% of the time it is happening to these poor victims online one to these websites do what they are being used for? >> guest: many of them like backpage are after the senate investigations came out in other detective work and prosecutorial work they actually were dealing with content and changing content even. many of them do know that they are facilitating the act of sex trafficking especially when it comes to minors in children. >> host: with this open up one of the arguments that some of the association and groups have made is that this would open up to a wide variety of lawsuits
and liability. >> guest: that is just not the case. it's a total red hearing. this goes just after criminal conduct only and the medication decency act even covers things like intellectual property rights so i have said over and over again for instance, taylor smith, her music is covered under the medications decency act but sadly, some of the young girls that may be victims of online sex trafficking or not. we are going in a barrel narrowly into the cda and into section 230 and making it clear that if it is illegal off-line it ought to be criminal online one where did you come up with this concept? >> guest: we work to build this coalition and it probably began with law enforcement and prosecutors, state attorney general's, district attorneys
and they came to us and said the courts are patting down these cases that are brought against backpage .com and other online predators time and time again because they are hiding behind the immunities and the communications decency act and quite honestly it was the first circuit and several other court in california that stated in their judgments that they want congress to legislate on this issue, not litigate. they believe that it is high time for us to make sure the congressional intent is clear it comes to the indication to the act. ba at its inception from 20 years ago was never meant to make the internet a red light district. that is clearly laid out in the congressional record but then watered down and misinterpreted time and time again by the
court. so, because the courts have told us legislate don't litigate we are going to go in and make sure that we make it clear, very narrowly, that sex trafficking crimes and the facilitators of that will be found criminally liable and civilly liable, to. >> host: you mentioned the judiciary a couple of times and has anyone been prosecuted under section 230 at this point? >> guest: they are all hiding behind section 230 in the medications decency act. ever since the first case were brought as far back as 2010 and as a result, peter, we're watching an explosion across the internet on the online predators. i can name you dozens and dozens of names at the local level and at the national level that are selling our young women and
children online. it is true sexual slavery of the most hideous and heinous kind. it is time that congress act but it is tough. it's a big issue and we got -- it's a lot of money at stake. these websites are making a good deal of money off of this on the backs of the poor victims that they are abusing. >> host: i read that 93% of the back page revenue are coming from so-called adult services and why has backpage become mr. representative for this? >> guest: frankly, the senate investigation and some of the subpoena power they had brought to light the fact that backpage according to their research was creating content and massaging
certain parts of their website that made it very clear that they were trafficking underaged girls and young boys. they have been a real bad actor in this but i can't stress enough that there are so many others out there, arrows, massage troll citied x guide, if you work with any law enforcement agency for district attorney office that is prosecuting the can show you the absolute explosion online ever since backpage has been hiding behind section 230 immunity. >> host: abigail slater, and testimony she did in the senate against the senate continue bill said that congress in 2015 supplemented an existing statute
by ensuring that that knowing advertisement of minors for commercial sex was a federal crime. basically arguing that it is already in their. >> guest: that was the save act which i offered. i believe that piece of legislation. the courts have said that is not enough. that's an absolute red hearing and what we are seeing now is backpage and others like them are turning to section 230 medications decency act for immunity and thus far the courts of appeal that. some of the time even reluctantly so to the fact that they have said there is tension between the congressional intent and the communications decency act and the current practices of online expect trafficking. yeah, as i said this is big business for them, hundreds of millions of dollars that are made off the absolute important
crime of sex trafficking. we are going in to make sure that congressional intent is clear and to make sure that we are protecting women and children and allowing them to seek justice at the end of the day. this is about going after them criminally but it's also about allowing many of the victims to seek some of the civil suits that they can have injustice that they absolutely deserved what and wagner, the fight online for sex trafficking online and what is the deposition difference between your legislation and legislation in the sentence known as the stop enabling traffickers act. >> guest: we been working with senator rob portman's office in the u.s. senate in the same
direction to make sure that we are shutting down these websites that are facilitating modern-day sex slavery. under similar legislation there is a difference in terms of some of the standards that are set in what would be called the mens rea, a legal term that as it deals with reckless disregard, knowing conduct and things of this nature. we are working out some of the differences on our legislation but at the end of the day there legislation and our legislation is aimed at the same thing, shutting down these websites that are involved in what we believe criminal activity and are selling upwards or as i said 80% now of human trafficking movement that is happening, not just in the united states of america but also going on
internationally, to. >> host: some have argued this is a first amendment issue. >> guest: again, an absolute red hearing. the criminal activity is criminal activity. whether it is off-line or online and those that are selling our children and if there was a slave auction happening on the corner you can't tell me that the auctioneer wouldn't be held is liable as those that are purchasing that place. it's the same concept that is out there. again, we are up against big tech, big money but at the end of the day this is a simple issue of good versus evil. we should be protecting the most vulnerable in our society giving voice to the voiceless and making sure that those poor victims, many of whom are nine years old and under age from
being sold into this hideous life that they had such a difficult time recovering from. i've done a lot, not just in the legislative area, but also in raising education and awareness on the issue of sex kathy. it is happening in every neighborhood in every community and it is hiding in plain sight and it's something that a country like the united states of america with its strong human rights should not stand for. >> host: you brought a victim in to see the speakers, is that correct? >> guest: there's a wonderful documentary out that we have been screening across the country and here in washington dc and the director is mary and it's called i am jane doe. i submitted it to any of you viewers. i am jane doe is a documentary
that lays out the need for congress to come in and amend communication decency act and it tells the story of three victims, three young children that have suffered at the hands of these online predators who are complicit in selling them online and one of the victims and her mother came in to help us lobby for the legislation and sat down with them and the advocacy group and we had a hearing just yesterday on the bill and they did sit down with speaker paul ryan and with the majority leader and others on this bill. i am thrilled, peter. we have upwards of 155 to 160 cosponsors in the us house of representatives on hr 65 and along with the attorney
general's, a coalition of some 70 different advocacy groups, prosecutors, law enforcement and it's a diverse umbrella that is decided to team up with us here in the house and in order to fight discord of human trafficking. >> host: and, what about the fact that the internet is borderless in a sense and what about if you do this legislation that doesn't mean it will not happen somewhere else? >> guest: well, obviously we are looking at state, pardon me, federal legislation but the legislation also bolsters things at the state and local level. we know how to fight in the united states america. we do it at the federal, state, local, civil level and we want to make sure that all of these across the country at all different levels of jurisdiction that they have the tools in their toolbox in order to lift up and hold up their state
statutes and here at the federal level we cannot have bad actors like backpage .com and others hiding behind and misinterpreted communications decency act for immunity. certainly we do a lot in the foreign affairs committee which i am a member of on the international level to address these issues but i gave a speech just last thursday at the united nations on this very issue. >> host: been talking with representative and wagner, republican of missouri about each are 1865, the fight online trafficking act. thank you for being with us. to my post. thank you. >> host: we spoke with representative and wagner a few weeks back about her legislation and now joining us on the
cricketers is carl, vice president, general counsel of group called net choice. what is net choice? >> guest: and e-commerce trade association centered on putting the internet and ensuring the internet is open for innervation and growth. >> host: what is your take on representative and wagner's legislation? >> guest: 1665 is a song approach to take down sex traffickers. it has a low mens rea and that is the knowledge requirement and one of the challenges we see is you may see some smaller internet companies inadvertently trip the mens rea requirement in hr 665 and there's the opportunity to bolster that up and amend that a bit. >> host: how is it different than the stop enabling sex traffickers act moving to the senate? >> guest: they are different but similar.
on their face they look the same because they both amend the same two parts of federal law. forty-seven usc [inaudible] in 18 usc 1591 and the difference is are in the details and essentially what they do is under a representative bill, hr 1665 it includes a lower standard, as i mentioned, then what you see in center principal but on top of that it gives a bit more power to the state ag's to enforce the federal law in their local courts and gives a bit more power to the civil prosecutors to bring cases. >> host: we talked with and wagner about the stop enabling sex trafficking act and what is
net choice his position on this legislation as it moves through the process? >> guest: we are not opposed to that at all but what working on is a different approach which takes a stronger more solid attack and enables law enforcement through 18 usc which is the criminal code so where some legislation wants to address section 230 which you talk to already and 18 usc what were working on is something that go straight into the criminal code and enables law enforcement to bring strong criminal actions against the bad actors. at the same time, it allows the state ag's to opt into enforcing the committal code and provides court ordered substitutions to get conviction and imposes those up to prison for these bad actors. sex trafficking is a bad problem
and we are very serious about wanting to deal with it and we need to get rid of it and what we are doing is were trying to find the best way to encompass that and that doesn't have unintended consequences. >> host: but the [inaudible] legislation changes section 230. you would leave section 230 alone press mark. >> guest: crack. it is because the change is unnecessary. section 230 specifically carves out what is criminal code. to do ...
you don't even need to touch section 230. you can leave that where it is. that carveout for federal criminal law will allow federal government and state to enforce federal criminal law. >> that's not under consideration right now. >> that's not what's being considered. >> in the senate. it is being considered in the house. a lot of legislation starts in one chamber or the other. sometimes it's conflicting but in this case is not conflicting, it's just another alternative. what net choice, what i want to see happen is that we get the best possible legislation that goes to the heart of taking down these sex traffickers, send them away and the victims the restitution they need. >> section 230 was described as a bedrock legal protection
for online services. you agree with that. >> yes we do. >> wife. >> section 230 is designed to provide protection. that analogy would be if i went to linkedin.com and made it statement about somebody, i could be held liable but linkedin would not. the reason not so necessary is because platforms would never be able to manager monitor or regulate all the content but it also opens up a lot more free speech. if you roll back to the genesis of section 230, it started because of two services, one called prodigy and one called compuserve us back in the mid- 90s and prodigy was the family-friendly provider that would screen to make sure it
was content appropriate for families and children. someone put a post on the bulletin board, a libelous statement about a financial institution in new york. they couldn't find the poster themselves so they went after prodigy. the new york port looked at it and said compuserve, we decided they are liable because compuserve does no screening whatsoever. they're more like a library where the library is not really responsible for content between the cover but because you screen to make it family-friendly you're more like an editorial board of the newspaper so we hold you liable for the content of others. prodigy got hit up for a couple million dollars and chris cox was flying cross-country and thought this is absurd. here's a company trying to do the right thing, trying to make it friendly more
discouraging map so he sat down and penned a section 230, and from that grew the user generated content industry that we know today. twitter, youtube, facebook, all the services built upon section 230 and platform immunity. at the same time, it encourages sites to remove content they find offensive. they say if you take down that content under the good samarita samaritan, it struck a nice balance. rather than touching 230, what we are working on is to just sidestep that discussion and see if we amend the criminal
code and give law-enforcement the tools they need that we don't need to touch sections 230. >> isn't there a difference between libelous comments and sex trafficking? >> yes, a substantial difference but the principle remains the same. one of the challenges we see online is when it comes to child pornography, it's much easier to know what when you see it. when it comes to sex trafficking, we been told a lot of this is in coded language, it's harder to identify. we suggested a clearinghouse where for website or civil society identify certain type of code or language or ip addresses or phone numbers known with traffickers, you put that in a repository so they can scan against that can better identify these coded languages. >> the senate committee that
was considering this legislation in a bipartisan fashion past that unanimously out of committee if 230 get amended. what does that have as an effect on your member companies. >> our member companies are working tirelessly. we have people looking at and identifying, reviewing flag content that is offensive in any nature. when it involves sex trafficking, child pornography, they refer that information to the national center for exploited children and law-enforcement. they will be less impacted than the smaller sites that don't have the teams to do the research and constant analysis and monitoring that some of
the larger guys can do. >> is this an assault on free speech, in your view? >> i think that is strong language. i don't think that's the intent of anyone. this is an assault on sex trafficking and that's what we are here to do. no one here is trying to hurt free speech. everyone wants to take down these bad actors. that's why were working in the house to do it in a way where we don't have to have free-speech conversation. >> why do you think, in your view, why do you think the legislators want to do it this way? through section 230, rather than what you're proposing. >> some want to do it through 230 because in a number of civil cases or state cases they have run headlong into section 230 as a bar.
it has a default platform immunity so several cases have conflicted with that when they try to go after backpage. when a lot of people sought operating to a barrier, the simple solution is what's adding in language in section 230 that says that no longer applies to sex trafficking and prostitution. it's an obvious approach. it have some unintended consequences and there's a way to achieve the same goal of going around section 230 by amending the criminal code rather than an amendment of section 230. >> what are some of the unintended consequences. >> for example, you are now creating a dissimilar schism between laws. criminal law, right now state,
law are not enforceable against platforms under section 230 but now you great a situation where one law is more criminal than others so you're saying sex trafficking is different than murder for hire or terrorism websites and stuff like that and it may impede the ability to bring cases on those other things. another unintended consequences the challenge to the good samaritan provision which we discussed previously where sites are put in a position where they have to monitor everything or nothing. one of the dangers is once you start amending section 230 for something as vile as sex trafficking, it could open the floodgates for defamation or libel that we may find less controversial but there are people who are impacted
negatively. >> so the gate keepers become very liable. >> correct. but also as an attorney, if someone came to me and said if i do any sort of monitoring of my sites i may be exposing myself to liability as opposed to doing no monitoring. the obvious solution is don't do any monitoring on your site. that might be one of the unintended consequences of changing section 230. >> thank you for being on the indicator. >> thank you for having me. >> in the house, work on defense programs and the national flood insurance program. thursday gop tax bill is on the floor. today john curtis will be sworn in. white house coverage on c-span.
the senate continues work on executive and judicial nominations. live senate coverage up for eastern on c-span2. watch c-span this week as congress debates tax reform. the senate finance committee begins a review of its bill monday at 3:00 p.m. eastern. five coverage on c-span three. the house debates its bill on thursday. live coverage on c-span. get detailed about both bills at c-span.org/congress and listen to live coverage of tax reform using the free c-span radio app. >> the c-span buses traveling across our country on a 50 capital to her. we stopped in topeka kansas asking what's the most important issue in their state. >> one of the most important issues in kansas is our economic policies. we've been seen as this great experiment here in kansas and
the tax policies have really gutted state services and done horrible things to education. teachers are leaving the state. young people are leaving the state. economic opportunities are not here anymore. this is one of those things that the former economic advisor is now trumps economic advisor and this isn't something i would want to see done on a national level. it has really hurt kansas and i don't want to hurt the rest of the nation. >> i believe undoubtedly the most important issue is education. over the past five years we've seen cuts to education every year. i think the legislative house has been doing a good job recently with the supreme court ruling trying to get those tax rates back to pre-2012 rates but i think there's more that can be done and it takes people like me speaking out. >> i think one of the biggest issues that's very important to me that needs to be worked on is more community things,
excepting a lot of things, getting rid of stereotypes, whether it's gang-related or lgbt community or anything like that, i think it's very important and we need to come together because i've seen what it can do and i think it needs to happen a lot more, not just here in kansas but all over the world. >> i wish the lawmakers would realize that the time for change in washington is now in terms of term limits as well as average salaries. here in the united states they make on average $170,000. year. we need to enact article five and let the states decide what they want to do. they need to lead by example. >> i think the most important issue along with the budget
crisis is medicaid expansion. a lot of states are also dealing with this issue, the decision from the supreme court to make medicaid expansion optional for states. rural hospitals are closing as a result of money being left on the table for medicaid expansion not happening in kansas. people are on waiting lists for over four years to be eligible for services under that program and a lot of people may not know this but kansas is one of the most restrictive states for eligibility in that program. no matter how much money they make their not eligible. if they don't receive needed health care, they are just further brought down into situations where they may not be economically mobile were able to provide for their families. in general healthcare is a right and not a privilege that some may not be able to get versus others. that's the issue most important to me.
>> voices from the state on c-span. next, a hearing on the potential economic benefits in environmental impacts of oil and gas drilling in the arctic national wildlife refuge. alaska state and local officials and citizens groups testified before the senate energy committee. >> welcome back everyone. sorry for the extra ten minutes delay, but we have finished this group of voting and hopefully we will have an opportunity to get through this last panel with an opportunity for questions and conclude the hearing before we have another round of votes. that's the hope you