Technology DoJ's Section 230 proposal seeks more (and less) moderation online

05:45  18 june  2020
05:45  18 june  2020 Source:   engadget.com

Senate bill aims to boost accountability for Section 230 without gutting it

  Senate bill aims to boost accountability for Section 230 without gutting it A new Senate bill promises to bring the Communications Decency Act’s well-known Section 230 into the modern era, although it might not make the Justice Department or President very happy. Democrat Senator Brian Schatz and Republican Senator John Thune have introduced the Platform Accountability and Consumer Transparency Act (PACT Act) with promises to make internet companies more responsible for their online moderation. Ideally, this makes it clear just what’s allowed on and removed from a given site without letting politicians “bully tech companies into political submission,” as Schatz told TechCrunch. UNITED STATES - JULY 16: Sen.

DOJ is set to propose sweeping changes to the law, known as Section 230 , on Wednesday, according to a department official, a move that comes weeks after President Trump signed an executive order that sought to introduce more government oversight of political speech on the web out of concern

The Department of Justice announced a set of proposals to remove legal protections enjoyed by “Taken together, these reforms will ensure that Section 230 immunity incentivizes online platforms to be The Department ’ s proposal aims to realize these objectives more fully and clearly in order for

The Justice Department has released its proposal to roll back legal protections provided to internet platforms under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Though largely aimed at platforms like Twitter and Facebook, which have drawn the ire of Donald Trump, the rules would also apply to smaller companies.

a man wearing a suit and tie in front of a curtain: US Attorney General William Barr checks his notes as he arrives for a joint news conference on the International Criminal Court, at the State Department in Washington, DC, on June 11, 2020. - The US on Thursday accused Russia of US Attorney General William Barr checks his notes as he arrives for a joint news conference on the International Criminal Court, at the State Department in Washington, DC, on June 11, 2020. - The US on Thursday accused Russia of "manipulating" the International Criminal Court as President Donald Trump announced sanctions against court officials who target US troops. "Foreign powers like Russia are also manipulating the ICC in pursuit of their own agenda," Barr said. (Photo by Yuri Gripas / POOL / AFP) (Photo by YURI GRIPAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The proposal calls for a number of changes to Section 230, the 1996 law that protects tech companies from being legally liable for what their users say on their platforms. While some lawmakers have said Section 230 should be repealed entirely, the DoJ says it’s aiming for “productive middle ground” between repeal and doing nothing. Somewhat bizarrely, though, that “middle ground” calls for both more and less content moderation.

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The DOJ ' s proposed reforms, which would have to be passed by Congress to go into effect, would limit the broad protections Section It's unclear how much support the proposals will gain in Congress. Both Republicans and Democrats have argued that Section 230 , which was initially envisioned as a

The Department of Justice is taking aim at tech’ s liability shield with a new set of legislative proposals . The proposed reforms are the latest action aiming to weaken legal protection established through a 1990 s law known as Section 230 , which protects online platforms from being held liable for

One set of changes — in the “more moderation” bucket — is “aimed at incentivizing platforms to address the growing amount of illicit content online,” and would limit legal protections in cases of terrorism, child exploitation and cyber-stalking. At the same time, the DoJ calls for less moderation of other types of content. Because the proposed rules would also limit companies’ ability to moderate content that doesn’t break the law. It says the current language of Section 230, which allows companies to remove content that is “objectionable,” should be replaced with “unlawful” and “promotes terrorism.”

“This reform would focus the broad blanket immunity for content moderation decisions on the core objective of Section 230 — to reduce online content harmful to children — while limiting a platform's ability to remove content arbitrarily or in ways inconsistent with its terms or service simply by deeming it ‘objectionable,’” the recommendations say.

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Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides tech platforms with immunity for libelous or misleading content posted by a third party. President Trump and conservative lawmakers have threatened to revoke this immunity following a string of instances in which tech companies were

DOJ ' s proposal seeks to limit protections offered to tech companies on their handling of content. The proposed changes are designed to push online platforms to be more aggressive in tackling harmful and illegal conduct on their On content moderation , the proposal will seek to remove an

The rules could also have major implications for companies’ use of encryption, which Attorney General Bill Barr has repeatedly targeted. As The Washington Postnotes, the proposal “raises the possibility that tech companies could lose their legal protections if their security practices, including their use of end-to-end encryption, hamstring law enforcement.”

Importantly, the DoJ proposal is just that: a proposal. Until Congress opts to adopt any of these changes the document amounts to little more than a “8,000 word wish list” as ArsTechnica called it.

Unsurprisingly, tech companies have been opposed to efforts to roll back Section 230 protections. Facebook sharply criticized Trump’s executive order on the subject, saying it would restrict speech. On Wednesday, the company’s top policy official, Nick Clegg, repeated those warnings.

“Our ability to moderate content in that way and moderate other forms of content is enabled by the provisions of Section 230 and changing significantly, or eliminating, the balance of responsibilities and provisions about liability in Section 230 would, in our view, in the end mean less speech of all kinds appearing online,” he said during a call with reporters.

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Section 230 says that "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" (47 U. S .C. § 230 ). In other words, online intermediaries that host or republish speech are protected against a

The justice department will also seek to force platforms to do more to justify their content A justice department official confirmed the report. Section 230 was first passed as part of the It was designed to encourage websites to engage in content moderation by removing the risk they could be sued as a

The DOJ’s proposal comes as Democrats and Republicans alike have called for Section 230 to be changed or repealed, though both groups have different motivations. Joe Biden has called for its repeal, citing Facebook’s unwillingness to take action against Donald Trump. And Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, who has criticized Facebook for censorship, has also introduced legislation that would allow users to sue companies that “selectively” enforce content policies.

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