Could a change to a US communications law break the internet?
On Wednesday, March 8 at 19:30 GMT:
In February, the US Supreme Court began hearing arguments for cases some have described as having the power to upend the modern internet.
At the focus of Gonzalez v Google and a related case, Twitter v Taamneh, is Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which provides internet companies a legal liability shield against lawsuits that stem from user-posted content. The Gonzalez case questions whether the algorithm designed by YouTube and its parent company Google should be held liable for recommending ISIL recruitment videos to its users, while the Taamneh case examines whether Twitter is liable for aiding and abetting “international terrorism” by allowing ISIL content on its site.
Debate over the cases comes as tech corporations face increasing scrutiny and pressure to be held accountable for hosting harmful or offensive content on their platforms. Yet those who defend Section 230, including open internet proponents and rights groups like the ACLU, believe a broad interpretation of the law is integral to free expression online and the very existence of social media.
In this episode of The Stream, we’ll look at the debate over Section 230 and how its future might affect the internet as we know it.
On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Julie Owono, @JulieOwono
Executive director, Internet Sans Frontieres
Megan Iorio, @EPICprivacy
Senior counsel, Electronic Privacy Information Center
Mukund Rathi, @EFF
Legal fellow, Electronic Frontier Foundation