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Title: Leaked Documents Show Executive Order Would Create Real Internet Speech Police (White House is Planning Executive Order to Censor the Internet )
Source: Tech Freedom
URL Source: https://techfreedom.org/draft-socia ... e-real-internet-speech-police/
Published: Aug 9, 2019
Author: Tech Freedom
Post Date: 2019-08-12 08:46:56 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 68
Comments: 6

WASHINGTON D.C. —­ Following months of increasingly angry complaints from Republicans about social media companies’ alleged bias against conservatives, the Trump Administration is drafting an Executive Order on the subject. CNN has just published a leaked summary of the draft order, which would take the extraordinary step of directing two independent agencies, the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission, to force social media sites to operate “neutrally.”

Trump’s proposed executive order would transform the FCC and FTC from consumer protection agencies into regulators of online speech,” said Berin Szóka, President of TechFreedom. “Ironically, the same people screaming about ‘censorship’ by private companies would empower regulators to decide what kinds of online speech should and shouldn’t be taken down. That Republicans, after decades of fighting government meddling in broadcasting, now want their own Fairness Doctrine for the Internet is staggeringly hypocritical.”

After denouncing President Obama for urging the FCC to adopt the strongest possible net neutrality rules, will Republicans now cheer as President Trump dictates how two independent agencies should enforce a bizarro version of net neutrality?” asked Szoka. “This order raises a host of thorny administrative law questions, and is certain to wind up in litigation. But as with the Muslim travel ban, fighting about this in court, win or lose, would at least keep the fight going, which seems to be the White House’s primary objective anyway. If they lose in court, they’ll just insist that Congress must pass Sen. Josh Hawley’s bill to effectively mandate neutrality for social media companies. With any luck, as with the idea of nationalizing 5G networks, the Administration will realize this is a door that shouldn’t be opened — and simply abandon the idea.”

Brian Fung’s CNN story quotes Szóka: “It makes no sense to involve the FCC here. They have rule-making authority, but no jurisdiction — they can’t possibly want to be involved. It would be an impossible position.” 

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last year at a hearing on anti-conservative bias, Szóka explained in detail the parallels between the Fairness Doctrine and proposals to amend Section 230 to require political neutrality.

###

We can be reached for comment at media@techfreedom.org. See more of our work on free speech and Section 230 on our website.

In practice, this executive order would mean that whichever political party is in power could dictate what speech is allowed on the Internet. If the government doesn’t like the way a private company is moderating content, they can shut their entire website down. The administration claims it’s trying to stop private companies from silencing speech—but this plan would create terrifying new censorship powers for the government to do just that. And the White House isn’t alone in promoting this misguided idea, some top Democrats have also called for weakening CDA 230.

The draft order has already been resoundingly condemned by First Amendment and free speech experts from across the political spectrum. Regardless of your politics, regardless of how you feel about the president, this is a terrible idea that will have the exact opposite impact of its stated purpose of protecting free speech.

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#1. To: Deckard (#0)

After denouncing President Obama for urging the FCC to adopt the strongest possible net neutrality rules,

That was a totally different "net neutrality" that did not regulate content.

misterwhite  posted on  2019-08-12   9:20:24 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Deckard (#0)

If the government doesn’t like the way a private company is moderating content, they can shut their entire website down.

Not all. "Companies whose monthly user base accounts for one-eighth of the U.S. population or more could find themselves facing scrutiny, the summary sa said." said."

misterwhite  posted on  2019-08-12   9:21:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Deckard (#0)

now want their own Fairness Doctrine for the Internet is staggeringly hypocritical.

The Fairness Doctrine (overturned by the FCC in 1987) forced holders of broadcast licenses to present both sides.

Trump is telling supposedly neutral so social social media sites not to censor one side of an argument.

misterwhite  posted on  2019-08-12   9:29:43 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Deckard (#0)

There is an underlying issue here.

Social media companies have a legally granted right to be considered as utilities, not as publishers. But when they curate their platform so aggressively and in such a partisan way, banning people on the Right for language no worse than (or less provocative than) people on the Left, then this is just Silicon Valley using its publisher exemption to exclude content and posters it doesn't like, based on their lawful opinions. And they've banned plenty for nothing at all.

If social media is going to use their franchise as though they are publishers, then they need to be considered publishers in the legal sense and enforceable by the courts. They could be held responsible for things like people livestreaming their own suicides or drunken parties where people are treated badly or all kinds of other harmful behavior. At present, they are completely immune legally.

There are some fundamental issues of fairness and equality involved. And many instances of arbitrary and/or partisan bannings. No different than a bigger version of the purges that used to occur at FreeRepublic, for instance.

I think the social networks should be fully responsible for all info on their pages. They are publishers and they aren't impartial publishers either. End their legal immunity, reduce them to the same status we expect from newspapers, magazines and books. Upon what basis do we allow just this one publisher to have immunity from all that they publish on their platform, often pushing and delivering it to site members.

Tooconservative  posted on  2019-08-12   14:40:04 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: Deckard, misterwhite, Tooconservative, A K A Stone (#0)

The Techdirt article contains not one word of any allegedly leaked draft, nor did CNN publish a "leaked" summary of such a draft order. CNN published its own confabulated version of what CNN claims is in a summary obtained by CNN from an unidentified source.

WASHINGTON D.C. —­ Following months of increasingly angry complaints from Republicans about social media companies’ alleged bias against conservatives, the Trump Administration is drafting an Executive Order on the subject. CNN has just published a leaked summary of the draft order, which would take the extraordinary step of directing two independent agencies, the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission, to force social media sites to operate “neutrally.”

“Trump’s proposed executive order would transform the FCC and FTC from consumer protection agencies into regulators of online speech,” said Berin Szóka, President of TechFreedom. “Ironically, the same people screaming about ‘censorship’ by private companies would empower regulators to decide what kinds of online speech should and shouldn’t be taken down. That Republicans, after decades of fighting government meddling in broadcasting, now want their own Fairness Doctrine for the Internet is staggeringly hypocritical.”

“After denouncing President Obama for urging the FCC to adopt the strongest possible net neutrality rules, will Republicans now cheer as President Trump dictates how two independent agencies should enforce a bizarro version of net neutrality?” asked Szoka. “This order raises a host of thorny administrative law questions, and is certain to wind up in litigation. But as with the Muslim travel ban, fighting about this in court, win or lose, would at least keep the fight going, which seems to be the White House’s primary objective anyway. If they lose in court, they’ll just insist that Congress must pass Sen. Josh Hawley’s bill to effectively mandate neutrality for social media companies. With any luck, as with the idea of nationalizing 5G networks, the Administration will realize this is a door that shouldn’t be opened — and simply abandon the idea.”

Brian Fung’s CNN story quotes Szóka: “It makes no sense to involve the FCC here. They have rule-making authority, but no jurisdiction — they can’t possibly want to be involved. It would be an impossible position.”

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The CNN article does not provide one word of the alleged "leaked" summary of one of the draft orders, whose existence was first reported by Politico. CNN only provides its own description of an alleged summary of a draft document obtained from an unidentified source.

CNN article:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/09/tech/white-house-social-media-executive-order-fcc-ftc/index.html

White House proposal would have FCC and FTC police alleged social media censorship

By Brian Fung, CNN Business
Updated 8:15 AM ET, Sat August 10, 2019

Washington (CNN Business)

A draft executive order from the White House could put the Federal Communications Commission in charge of shaping how Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and other large tech companies curate what appears on their websites, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

The draft order, a summary of which was obtained by CNN, calls for the FCC to develop new regulations clarifying how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. Although still in its early stages and subject to change, the Trump administration's draft order also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to take those new policies into account when it investigates or files lawsuits against misbehaving companies. Politico first reported the existence of the draft.

If put into effect, the order would reflect a significant escalation by President Trump in his frequent attacks against social media companies over an alleged but unproven systemic bias against conservatives by technology platforms. And it could lead to a significant reinterpretation of a law that, its authors have insisted, was meant to give tech companies broad freedom to handle content as they see fit.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment on the draft order, but referred CNN to Trump's remarks at a recent meeting with right-wing social media activists. During the meeting, Trump vowed to "explore all regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech."

[...]

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The sources cited in the CNN article allege multiple drafts of a proposed executive order are circulating. None of their sources would describe the contents of any proposed order. Politico reports "None of the three people could say what penalties, if any, the order would envision for companies deemed to be censoring political viewpoints. The order, which deals with other topics besides tech bias, is still in the early drafting stages and is not expected to be issued imminently."

Cited sources in CNN article:

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/07/white-house-tech-censorship-1639051

White House drafting executive order to tackle Silicon Valley’s alleged anti-conservative bias

By Margaret Harding Mcgill and Daniel Lippman
Politico
08/07/2019 03:07 PM EDT

The White House is circulating drafts of a proposed executive order that would address allegations of anti-conservative bias by social media companies, according to a White House official and two other people familiar with the matter — a month after President Donald Trump pledged to explore "all regulatory and legislative solutions" on the issue.

None of the three would describe the contents of the order, which one person cautioned has already taken many different forms and remains in flux. But its existence, and the deliberations surrounding it, are evidence that the administration is taking a serious look at wielding the federal government’s power against Silicon Valley.

“If the internet is going to be presented as this egalitarian platform and most of Twitter is liberal cesspools of venom, then at least the president wants some fairness in the system,” the White House official said. “But look, we also think that social media plays a vital role. They have a vital role and an increasing responsibility to the culture that has helped make them so profitable and so prominent."

Two other people knowledgeable about the discussions also confirmed the existence of the draft order.

None of the three people could say what penalties, if any, the order would envision for companies deemed to be censoring political viewpoints. The order, which deals with other topics besides tech bias, is still in the early drafting stages and is not expected to be issued imminently.

"The President announced at this month’s social media summit that we were going to address this and the administration is exploring all policy solutions," a second White House official said Wednesday when asked about the draft order.

[...]

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Politico also cites the Federal law which is in existence.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230

47 U.S. Code § 230.

Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material

(a) Findings

The Congress finds the following:

(1) The rapidly developing array of Internet and other interactive computer services available to individual Americans represent an extraordinary advance in the availability of educational and informational resources to our citizens.

(2) These services offer users a great degree of control over the information that they receive, as well as the potential for even greater control in the future as technology develops.

(3) The Internet and other interactive computer services offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity.

(4) The Internet and other interactive computer services have flourished, to the benefit of all Americans, with a minimum of government regulation.

(5) Increasingly Americans are relying on interactive media for a variety of political, educational, cultural, and entertainment services.

(b) Policy

It is the policy of the United States—

(1) to promote the continued development of the Internet and other interactive computer services and other interactive media;

(2) to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation;

(3) to encourage the development of technologies which maximize user control over what information is received by individuals, families, and schools who use the Internet and other interactive computer services;

(4) to remove disincentives for the development and utilization of blocking and filtering technologies that empower parents to restrict their children’s access to objectionable or inappropriate online material; and

(5) to ensure vigorous enforcement of Federal criminal laws to deter and punish trafficking in obscenity, stalking, and harassment by means of computer.

(c) Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material

(1) Treatment of publisher or speaker

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

(2) Civil liability

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—

(A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; or

(B) any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1).[1]

(d) Obligations of interactive computer service

A provider of interactive computer service shall, at the time of entering an agreement with a customer for the provision of interactive computer service and in a manner deemed appropriate by the provider, notify such customer that parental control protections (such as computer hardware, software, or filtering services) are commercially available that may assist the customer in limiting access to material that is harmful to minors. Such notice shall identify, or provide the customer with access to information identifying, current providers of such protections.

(e) Effect on other laws

(1) No effect on criminal law

Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair the enforcement of section 223 or 231 of this title, chapter 71 (relating to obscenity) or 110 (relating to sexual exploitation of children) of title 18, or any other Federal criminal statute.

(2) No effect on intellectual property law

Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or expand any law pertaining to intellectual property.

(3) State law

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent any State from enforcing any State law that is consistent with this section. No cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section.

(4) No effect on communications privacy law

Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the application of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 or any of the amendments made by such Act, or any similar State law.

(5) No effect on sex trafficking lawNothing in this section (other than subsection (c)(2)(A)) shall be construed to impair or limit—

(A) any claim in a civil action brought under section 1595 of title 18, if the conduct underlying the claim constitutes a violation of section 1591 of that title;

(B) any charge in a criminal prosecution brought under State law if the conduct underlying the charge would constitute a violation of section 1591 of title 18; or

(C) any charge in a criminal prosecution brought under State law if the conduct underlying the charge would constitute a violation of section 2421A of title 18, and promotion or facilitation of prostitution is illegal in the jurisdiction where the defendant’s promotion or facilitation of prostitution was targeted.

(f) Definitions

As used in this section:

(1) Internet

The term “Internet” means the international computer network of both Federal and non-Federal interoperable packet switched data networks.

(2) Interactive computer service

The term “interactive computer service” means any information service, system, or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet and such systems operated or services offered by libraries or educational institutions.

(3) Information content provider

The term “information content provider” means any person or entity that is responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation or development of information provided through the Internet or any other interactive computer service.

(4) Access software providerThe term “access software provider” means a provider of software (including client or server software), or enabling tools that do any one or more of the following:

(A) filter, screen, allow, or disallow content;

(B) pick, choose, analyze, or digest content; or

(C) transmit, receive, display, forward, cache, search, subset, organize, reorganize, or translate content.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §?230, as added Pub. L. 104–104, title V, §?509, Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 137; amended Pub. L. 105–277, div. C, title XIV, §?1404(a), Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681–739; Pub. L. 115–164, §?4(a), Apr. 11, 2018, 132 Stat. 1254.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

nolu chan  posted on  2019-08-12   19:28:50 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: nolu chan (#5)

The order, which deals with other topics besides tech bias, is still in the early drafting stages and is not expected to be issued imminently."

If anything gets done, I expect it will be put in place fairly early in the election season.

The Lefties at Google/Facebook/Twitter will immediately race to a liberal judge who will grant a nationwide injunction.

However, this will open them up to discovery and a lot of attention they might really want to avoid. Their most sensitive internal documents could be subpoenaed and published, their extremely low opinion of their own users, their executives might be dragged into court and questioned about why they peddle their Lefty poison on their social networks but refuse to allow their own children access to their social networks.

Your post was right about the limits of taking action this way. It seems to me that Trump is trying to force the social networks to do what he wants without staging a fight that could extend beyond 2020. Or 2024. Trump wants to nudge them to treat people fairly and by a consistent standard and he's using this EO as a way of threatening to expose their internal documents in court if they don't comply.

Tooconservative  posted on  2019-08-13   3:03:34 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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