Wikimedia DC Statement supporting the Enough Act

From Wikimedia District of Columbia
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Status: Draft

Date: TBD

The Enough Act proposed in the U.S. Congress would forbid people to post intimate images with reckless disregard for the interests of the person depicted. Wikimedia DC supports the proposal's passage.

We support the creation of this new, narrowly defined crime because the behavior to be outlawed has a toxic effect on the kind of online participation which our projects and sites need. This behavior can intimidate, frighten, silence, harass users of online platforms such as the other Wikimedia sites, and drive people away, especially women. This is not only unfair to them but it delays and adds difficulty to our offering their knowledge in our service to the public. The Act is therefore relevant to Wikimedia.

The Act puts a constraint on free expression, but the behavior it outlaws is rare, carefully, and narrowly defined. We expect the Act to be sensibly interpreted by law enforcers and prosecutors. The behavior is highly toxic so it is worth some cost and constraint to reduce it.

The Act also creates some risk for nonprofit knowledge programs such as Wikimedia sites. The relevant legal protections for platforms comes from the "safe harbor provision," section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. We think the protection is sufficient. Site administrators can eliminate the offending content, fight the action in court.

Law enforcement staff and prosecutors will need to show reasonable judgment, which we expect, and if we don't see that we'll support changes. A greater danger is that too few cases will be identified. We will support further changes in law if we think the balance is not coming out right.

The text of the Enough Act: S. 2162, pdf of the same