National Association of Attorneys General

National Association of Attorneys General National Association of Attorneys General

NAAG Supports Amendment to the Communications Decency Act

For Release: May 23, 2019 | Noon Eastern Time

Contact: Allison Gilmore | 202-326-6047 | agilmore@naag.org

Twitter: @NatlAssnAttysGn

Washington, D.C. --- The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) is endorsing an amendment to the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA). The amendment would ensure state and local authorities have the power to take action against criminals who are profiting from illegal online activity.

The CDA was initially intended to protect minors from obscene and indecent material online. However, language from Section 230 of the CDA has been misinterpreted by federal courts, limiting the ability of attorneys general to enforce criminal laws against companies profiting from illegal activity. 

“We must enable our state and local authorities to protect our citizens, including the most vulnerable among us, and to take appropriate action against criminal actors,” reads the letter signed by 47 attorneys general. “Current precedent interpreting the CDA, however, continues to preclude states and territories from enforcing their criminal laws against companies that, while not actually performing these unlawful activities, provide platforms that make these activities possible.”

This is the third attempt by attorneys general to encourage Congress to pass an amendment to the CDA. Similar efforts were made in 2013 and 2017.

The letter concludes, “The increasing challenges presented by profiteers of the many other criminal enterprises online require the same level of investigation and prosecution that can only come from inclusion of state and local resources. We ask that you adopt this simple addition to the CDA to remove the law’s restrictions on enforcement and enable us to better protect citizens nationwide.”

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The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) was founded in 1907 to help attorneys general fulfill the responsibilities of their office and to assist in the delivery of high-quality legal services to the states and territorial jurisdictions.

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