Oracle backs Senate sex-trafficking bill
Tech giant Oracle announced its support on Wednesday for a Senate bill designed to combat sex trafficking, breaking away from many Silicon Valley companies that worry the legislation poses an existential threat to online social media platforms.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who has been spearheading the push behind the bill, released a letter from Oracle Vice President Kenneth Glueck applauding the legislation and taking a shot at its critics in the tech sector.
“Your legislation does not, as suggested by the bill’s opponents, usher the end of the Internet,” the letter reads. “If enacted, it will establish some measure of accountability for those that cynically sell advertising but are unprepared to help curtail sex trafficking.”
The bill has engendered opposition from Silicon Valley companies that worry it would unfairly hold internet platforms liable for content posted on their sites by third-party users.
Portman’s Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act is the result of a two-year Senate Homeland Security investigations subcommittee probe into Backpage.com, which the panel accused of knowingly facilitating sex trafficking.
The bill would crack down on websites that publish material that facilitates sex trafficking.
Portman and the bipartisan group of senators backing the bill have been dismissive of critics.
The Ohio Republican thanked Oracle for its support in a joint statement with Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).
“We are pleased with the growing support for the bipartisan Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, and welcome Oracle’s important voice to this effort,” they said in the statement.
“It is an acknowledgement that this simple, bipartisan bill is the right prescription for fixing a fundamental flaw in the law that has enabled online sex traffickers to escape justice. It’s time for Congress to act on this bipartisan bill.”
“I am thankful that leaders like Oracle in the big tech industry are supporting the fight against sex trafficking,” Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), who introduced a House version of the bill, added in a statement. “Anyone thinking with their conscience instead of their pocket book would agree.”
Updated: 4:57 p.m.