Cox, a lawyer who now represents NetChoice, a trade association of e-commerce businesses and online consumers, said that law enforcement authorities already have legal tools to go after the illegal sex and child-trafficking. Section 230, which he co-wrote, “provides no immunity whatsoever to defendants in federal criminal cases,” Cox argued.
Cox said that the best answer is not in new laws but in more vigorous prosecution under current ones. He said that federal prosecutors have not brought a single case under a 2015 law, also authored by Wagner, that criminalized the knowing distribution of advertising of sex acts outlawed under federal sex-trafficking laws.
Cox also warned that singling out sex trafficking in the Communications Decency Act will create “significant new legal ambiguities” when judges try to determine how it affects other online crimes, like murder-for-hire, or terrorism.
Cox said that Senate report, plus subsequent reporting by the Washington Post alleging that contractors have actively sought sex advertising for Backpage, should give prosecutors ample opportunity to go after the controversial site under current law.