Advocacy/Laws/Law Enforcement

Advocacy/Laws/Law Enforcement

Table of Contents

Pornography can be thought of as all sexually explicit material intended primarily to arouse the reader, viewer, or listener. The United States Supreme Court has said that there are four categories of pornography that can be determined illegal, including indecency, material harmful to minors, obscenity, and child pornography. (Read more here…)


EIE-Led Federal Legislation


Communications Decency Act (CDA) – 1996

Played a key educational role to Congress by testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the need for legislation to protect children from pornography and predators on the Internet. Effectively communicated the message that materials and activities already outlawed in every other avenue of delivery should not be accessible to children on the Internet. The CDA included the child-stalking provision, which is the law used to prosecute online sexual predators. The federal obscenity statutes were also extended to apply to the Internet.

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) – 2000
(CIPA – Downloadable PDF)

The U.S. Supreme Court, in June of 2003, reversed a lower court decision and upheld CIPA. CIPA requires public libraries that receive government E-rate funding for Internet access to utilize filtering technology to block a minor child’s access to pornography and obscenity. In 1998, EIE staff briefed Senator John McCain and other members of Congress on the early problems of child access to pornography in public libraries and schools. EIE also served as a key catalyst in the effort to get CIPA passed and upheld. In 2000, Congress passed CIPA; it was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, upon which the ACLU and the ALA filed lawsuits, and the law was enjoined for three years. The Supreme Court decision is a landmark victory in child Internet safety protection and a law that EIE was instrumental in getting passed and supported throughout the years. https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/…ens-internet-protection-act

The Child Online Protection Act (COPA) – 1998

(COPA Report to Congress – Downloadable PDF)

COPA passed in 1998, with the leadership and support of EIE staff, which included numerous briefings and advocacy efforts in the House and Senate. COPA mandated that commercial web pornographers based in the U.S. require adult verification before allowing access by minor children to free pornographic content. The law, however, never took effect, as three separate rounds of litigation led to a permanent injunction against the law in 2009.,

Donna Rice Hughes served for a year on the congressionally appointed COPA Commission (link- Commission on Child Online Protection) and the EIE team rigorsouslydefended COPA at a press conferences on the steps of the Supreme Court,, and continued to support COPA in the news media and in public debates while awaiting the outcome a long ten year court battle. DuringCOPA’s 10 year enjoinment, 9 in 10 children online continued to be exposed to free pornographic pictures. On July 22, 2008, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 2007 decision.[On January 21, 2009, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear appeals of the lower court decision, effectively shutting down the law signed by President Clinton. a bi-partisan Congress and signed into law. To learn more, click here.

Child Pornography Prevention Act (CPPA) – 1996

EIE leadership testified before the U.S. Senate in support of CPPA. Once passed, the law was enjoined due to a lawsuit filed by the Free Speech Coalition. Since 1996, EIE has educated the public as to the need for this key legislation that criminalizes ‘virtually’ created child pornography. In April 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down CPPA.

Dot Kids Domain Name Act of 2001

EIE leadership testified before Congress in support of the bill, in addition to working extensively with the House of Representatives in the writing of the legislation. The Dot Kids Domain Name Act was signed into law on December 4, 2002. EIE continues to provide expertise on the implementation of this new domain designed to give children a safe Internet haven.

Congressional Hearings and Testimonies Given by EIE Staff

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

Washington, D.C. October 15, 2003
Provided written testimony on the prosecution of illegal pornography

Congressional Internet Caucus

Washington, D.C. May 23, 2002
Panel discussion titled “Controlling Online Pornography: Options for Parents and Families.”

Congressional Hearing

The Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Washington, DC, November 1, 2001
“The Dot Kids Domain Name Act of 2001” (page 26)

Senate Hearing

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families
Washington, DC, March 28, 2000
Speech: “Keeping Children Safe from Internet Predators”

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on ‘Cyberporn’
Testimony from July 24, 1995 (page 111)

Advocacy & Laws

Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act

The March 2018 passage of FOSTA allows victims of sex trafficking and prosecutors to finally have the legal tools they need to go after websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking and that have historically served as ’online brothels’ of advertisements for traffickers and pimps,

Related Links:

FOSTA-SESTA Bill (signed into Law April 11, 2018)
Senate Letter Opposing Amendments to FOSTA SESTA (Signed by Enough Is Enough®®)
Senator Portman Remarks on Senate Floor (3/19/18)
Letter from the Fraternal Order of Police
The Truth About FOSTA SESTA
Letter to Congress Urging Members to Remove Section 230-like language in the new Mexican-US Trade Agreement

Other Legislation

November 17, 2020 Letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee

Earn-it Act



The Global Resource & Information Directory (GRID) is designed to create a single, factual data source for a wide array of stakeholders dedicated to making the Internet a safer and better place. By tracking and reporting the efforts of each country around the world, GRID provides an unparalleled opportunity to properly define online safety challenges, identify successes, and scope the work ahead.

As a program of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), GRID was first launched in 2010 as the only comprehensive source of peer-reviewed online safety information on a global scale. The individual country pages provide a chronicle of research, education, legislation, and organizations active in the Internet safety space. GRID has been a platform for noteworthy initiatives and large-scale changes to safety policy in respective regions throughout the world, and has become a unique source of reference for governments, industry, law enforcement, educators and academics.

States With Revenge Porn Laws (C.A. Goldberg, PLLC)

States Resolutions Declaring Pornography a Public Health Crisis (National Decency Coalition)

State Cyberbullying Laws (StopBullying.gov)

Sexting Laws and Regulations (Cyberbullying Research Center)

Presidential Pledge – 2016

The Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge asks Presidential Nominees to uphold the rule of law by aggressively enforce existing federal laws to prevent the sexual exploitation of children online, including the obscenity, child pornography, sexual predation & sex trafficking laws.

Warrant-Proof Encryption 

Because of warrant-proof encryption, the government often cannot obtain the electronic evidence and intelligence necessary to investigate and prosecute threats to public safety and national security, even with a warrant or court order.  This provides a “lawless space” that criminals, terrorists, and other bad actors can exploit for their nefarious ends.  For more, click here.  


World Congress: Child Dignity in the Digital World
October 3-6 (Rome, Italy)
EIE President Donna Rice Hughes was one of 120 invited world leaders invited to the World Congress to set the global agenda in the fight against online sexual child abuse in the digital world.
Speech given by Pope Francis (French, English and Spanish)
Declaration of Rome: Child Dignity in the Digital World (Oct 6, 2017)
Strategic Plan: Implementing the Declaration of Rome (15 October 2017)