Big Tech Company Endorses Wagner Bill To Fight Online Sex Trafficking

Sep 6, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Oracle has announced its strong endorsement of H.R. 1865, Rep. Ann Wagner’s Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017. H.R. 1865 narrowly amends the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) to hold websites like Backpage.com that facilitate sex trafficking accountable for their criminal activities.

In response to the endorsement letter, Rep. Wagner said, “Congress, law enforcement, prosecutors, advocates, and responsible businesses across the country are uniting to pass the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. It’s heartbreaking to watch survivors struggle to piece their lives back together without access to justice, while the websites that sold them are raking in millions of dollars,” she added. “I am thankful that leaders like Oracle in the big tech industry are supporting the fight against sex trafficking. Amending Section 230 of the CDA is the only way to ensure companies like Backpage.com are unable to commit sex trafficking crimes online that they cannot commit offline. Anyone thinking with their conscience instead of their pocket book would agree.”

In its endorsement letter to Rep. Wagner, Oracle wrote:

“We commend your leadership on this issue. As several investigations have demonstrated, sex trafficking has exploded in large part due to nefarious Internet actors that knowingly facilitate and profit from it. We agree that congressional action is necessary to put an end to this tragic exploitation of human beings and hold its online accomplices to account. We appreciate that, in keeping with your strong track record of supporting the growth of the Internet and information technology industry, you have worked hard to craft a thoughtful bill to hold bad actors liable.

The fact is that technological capabilities that are available today are light years away from those that existed in 1996, when the commercial Internet was just beginning. Back then, Internet startups would be launched with little to no ability to review and monitor the content they hosted. More importantly, sex trafficking and other heinous crimes had not begun to proliferate on the Internet. Nonetheless, we are 100 percent confident that a Wagner amendment – identical to HR 1865 – offered to the Communications Decency Act in 1996 would have passed the House overwhelmingly and the Internet would have enjoyed the same exponential growth and innovation over the past twenty one years. Frankly we are stunned you must even have this debate.

Today, the state of technology is far different than it was in 1996. Any start-up has access to low cost and virtually unlimited computing power and to advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and filtering software. That capability is also offered as a service in the cloud. The business success of Internet and mobile computing platforms depends on their ability to precisely analyze, arrange and segment applications, data and content, to accurately target them at their most relevant audiences – along with advertising, of course – not to blindly run platforms with no control of the content.

Your legislation does not, as suggested by the bill’s opponents, usher the end of the Internet. If enacted, it will establish some measure of accountability for those that cynically sell advertising but are unprepared to help curtail sex trafficking.”

Oracle’s full letter is attached. PDF iconOracle HR 1865 support.pdf