Australian Attorney General Wants To Make The Country's Defamation Law Even Worse

from the if-it's-already-broke-just-keep-breaking-it dept

Australia’s government is planning to revamp its defamation law. Good. Because it’s all kinds of fucked up. The law that’s in place has encouraged all sorts of litigation from people who would prefer to sue service providers and social media platforms, rather than the people who actually said defamatory things.

But it’s unclear what sort of reform the government actually has in mind. Australia’s Attorney General Christian Porter says the country’s defamation law is “unfair.” It’s certainly not a good law, but Porter thinks it doesn’t strike a “perfect balance” between protecting journalists from being hit with bogus lawsuits and protecting individuals from being defamed.

He’s right. The law doesn’t strike the right balance. But he’s wrong about how to fix it. Very wrong.

Attorney-General Christian Porter says social media platforms should be treated the same as traditional publishers under defamation law, a change that would present a fundamental new challenge for global companies such as Facebook and Twitter.

It appears Porter believes the playing field can only be leveled by dragging social media platforms down to the level of local journalists the law fails to protect. This is Porter’s idea of “fairness,” apparently. If the law is going to continue to suck, it should suck for more people.

Despite the fact that social media platforms don’t actually “publish” anything, Porter wants to treat Facebook, et al like newspapers. In Porter’s mind, anything posted by users apparently should be vetted and fact-checked and edited by social media platforms before it goes live. You know, like a newspaper.

Of course, this is impossible and Porter knows it. So, “reforming” the law just means making it easier for bad faith litigation to proceed, allowing actual defamers to escape punishment while judgments and fees are extracted from American social media companies. Porter is pretty sure this is the right thing to do, even as he admits he has no idea if it even can be done.

“My own view … is that online platforms, so far as reasonably possible, should be held to essentially the same standards as other publishers,” Mr Porter told an audience at the National Press Club.

“But you have to, of course, take into account, reasonable, sensible measures for how you do that … because of the volume of what goes on in Twitter and Facebook is much larger than the volume from a standard newspaper.”

Saying that “the volume of what goes on in Twitter and Facebook is much larger than that the volume from a standard newspaper” is such an understatement as to suggest that Porter has absolutely no familiarity with the issue at hand. Comparing the two is like saying the volume of Niagra Falls is larger than a leaky sink. Yes, they both involve water moving downward, but that’s about the extent of the comparison. Saying that the volume from one is “much larger” than the other leaves out just how much larger. Indeed, it’s so much larger that there literally is no reasonable comparison. Yet, he chose to make it anyway.

The AG’s defamation law “fix” appears to be a response to a NSW Supreme Court decision handed down earlier this year — one that held Australian press outlets legally responsible for defamatory comments made by readers on the outlets’ Facebook pages. But rather than improve the law to protect press outlets, AG Porter just wants to make it worse for social media companies.

How this is supposed to fix anything is anyone’s guess. Maybe the Attorney General feels the country’s court system just isn’t seeing enough bogus litigation. Whatever the case, this reform effort by the Australian government appears poised to make things worse for Australians and everyone who provides a platform for them.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s almost as if negligible liability costs aren’t a thing preventing people from putting up their own websites~. And it’s almost as if raising such costs would become a deterrent for legal yet potentially offensive speech~. Imagine that~.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

The liability certainly exists or we wouldn’t have needed to immunize it.

Did you ever think there may be a reason for immunizing companies from that liability other than “to personally piss off Jhon Smith”? What am I saying, of course you didn’t.

A search engine requires that immunity to exist. If a search engine could be held liable for any given content scraped by its spiders, no search engine could ever exist. Google wouldn’t list as much content as it could scrape, but only a pre-screened, pre-approved amount of content. That would make finding sites that sit outside of such pre-screening a much harder task. Would you prefer to have Google scrape only the New York Times and the Washington Post, or would you prefer to have Google scrape everything from NYT to Breitbart to The Root to Vox and let people make up their own minds as to what they want to read?

Your desire to place distributor liability on search engines would fundamentally alter how the Internet works and what sites people would be more likely to see on a daily basis. For what reason could you possibly want the Internet limited to a handful of sites controlled by rich motherfuckers who absolutely want the Internet turned into a broadcast medium?

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"Did you ever think there may be a reason for immunizing companies from that liability other than “to personally piss off Jhon Smith”? What am I saying, of course you didn’t."

Because in HIS case, that actually IS the reason.
It’s pretty clear, after all this time, that dear old Jhon has a vested interest in google (or any other search engine) being able to collate material which could be seen as unflattering for individuals.

In other words he thinks it’ll be detrimental to him personally if a simple google search on his real name is all it takes for people to realize that whatever fraud he tries to run is untrustworthy.

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I guess this means that…

Search engines have already been held liable for results under the distributor-liability theory in countries which don’t have 230, and in America prior to 230. The liability certainly exists or we wouldn’t have needed to immunize it.

In no way at all does that mean it should. This is going after money rather than the person who posted the defamatory comments. That’s why they do it.

Next time I see you going on about personal responsibility I’m going to fling this in your e-face.

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btr1701 (profile) says:

Techxit

I have to wonder at what point all these laws in Europe and Australia– GDPR, upload filters, defamation liability, etc.– will make it economically unfeasible for these companies to keep doing business there and we’ll see Twitter or Facebook or YouTube just close down all their physical offices and leave, then tell those countries to stick their laws in a deep dark moist place.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Techxit

"I have to wonder at what point all these laws in Europe and Australia– GDPR, upload filters, defamation liability, etc.– will make it economically unfeasible for these companies to keep doing business there and we’ll see Twitter or Facebook or YouTube just close down all their physical offices and leave, then tell those countries to stick their laws in a deep dark moist place."

It’s already been happening – see Spain for an example.

This doesn’t mean such services will cease to exist – only that they will in future only be found on the darknet. When Google has to cease operating a search index we’ll be left with the only sensible indexing ALSO being one which will happily serve up details on bombmaking, hate speech and CP because the search index will operate completely beyond any and all supervision.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Techxit

more likely in the future more countries will be on US sanctions lists for trying to export their illegal policies into our country

Except for the CP of course…. that actually is illegal in the US

Also, since you’re obviously European if you’re holding up Spain, your internet might become the darknet in the US just like china is working its way up to atm

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Techxit

"more likely in the future more countries will be on US sanctions lists for trying to export their illegal policies into our country"

Unlikely. The tricky bit here is that no "exporting" is done. The EU may implement any number of insane regulations on how the internet may or may not work and at the end of their frenzied legislative fugue they’ll then have to make a stand on how to enforce it.

At which point they’ll find that even China doesn’t have the means they’d need so they’ll have to go for the more heavy-handed approach of going after whatever they can trawl from the open web.

And THAT is when you’ll find a lot of the currently parts of the EU internet submerging. Once the average user gets used to searching the darknet for everything they’ll find that in the darknet, NO one does any filtering – so that’s where everything the EU and US ever tried to stop will be.

When a website goes to the deep net, that’s where it then is no matter whether you’re trying to access it from the EU, the US or from China.

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btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Techxit

This doesn’t mean such services will cease to exist – only that they will in future only be found on the darknet.

Not necessarily. The only reason these social media companies are subject to these laws is because they maintain physical presence in those countries. If they leave, they would no longer be subject to the laws, but their services/sites would still be accessible to the citizens of that country on the internet. The only thing the government could do at that point would be to block Facebook, et al, on a nationwide basis, but that would come at a political cost as their constituents would likely go ballistic at being shut out of something they’ve come to greatly rely upon and enjoy.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Techxit

"Not necessarily. The only reason these social media companies are subject to these laws is because they maintain physical presence in those countries."

True enough. I’m thinking, however, that if Google leaves, say, the EU, and maintains an EU-only page served from russian servers or such…then the EU’s next move WILL start to be blocking.

After that is found to be impractical and ineffective I guarantee you some commissionary asshat WILL start speculating about cribbing China’s "Golden Shield" idea for europe.

That’s the point at which I see the darknet becoming the new normal.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Techxit

"You’re assuming there won’t be an ACTA-style public outcry, which is likely to happen in such an event."

I’m assuming that outcry will be ignored because the EU commission has become better at sneaking unacceptable legislation past the EP – as witnessed during the copyright directive farce.

Or that the legislation will be tabled during a time when the public has something else to be outraged or scared about.

What I’m NOT assuming is that the new feudal overlors in the EU commission and bureaucracy will suddenly develop democratic values and a sense of reason and proportion. Let’s face it, even if Brexit is a shit-show, I’d lay good odds that thirty years from now the EU will have to use military force to keep half its members from seceding in disgust.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Techxit

I’m assuming that outcry will be ignored because the EU commission has become better at sneaking unacceptable legislation past the EP – as witnessed during the copyright directive farce.

If we’d had more people on it, the outcome might have been different. We’re not engaged enough; the campaign shouldn’t end because the Commission got their way, it ends when they’ve been kicked into touch. When ACTA bit the dust, Karel de Gucht was reminded that Parliament appoints commissioners and can replace them. Assuming the case is the same, we need to engage more with our MEPs to remind them of that. It means we don’t just contact them when we’re not happy about a new law, we contact them regularly and encourage them to hold the Commissioners to account. That we don’t is the problem.

Or that the legislation will be tabled during a time when the public has something else to be outraged or scared about.

I can see that, so we need to be talking to our MEPs to encourage them to ensure these things aren’t sneaked through.

What I’m NOT assuming is that the new feudal overlors in the EU commission and bureaucracy will suddenly develop democratic values and a sense of reason and proportion.

Right behind them are the corporate puppetmasters ensuring their will is done. We need a public interest lobby to counter them. Two can play at that game, and they need to play it well.

Let’s face it, even if Brexit is a shit-show, I’d lay good odds that thirty years from now the EU will have to use military force to keep half its members from seceding in disgust.

Brexit is being run by the most incompetent PM we’ve ever had, and May was a numbnut! I can’t see where the EU is going to get this military force from when it’s dominated by France and Germany and some of the bigger countries have ever-growing cadres of anti-EU factions. The EU is going to have to drop the federalism if it wants to survive long-term. During ACTA, the Poles were a major player in terms of getting it killed. Other members of former Soviet satellite states remember the oppression they suffered. That’s what we leveraged to kill ACTA and it worked like a charm. As I’ve said before, when dealing with people you can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Find out what button to press and jump on it. With former Soviet sattelite states, it’s surveillance. With the Right-neoliberal types, it’s The Market. With left-liberal types, it’s fairness to workers and the vulnerable. Yes indeed, a full time public interest lobby is required to counter the corporate lobbies. Stat.

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aerinai (profile) says:

Time for pass-through lawsuits...

So, here’s an interesting idea that the big tech firms could employ should this ridiculous law be put into effect. Make it a standing order that any individual that is being sued on their platform, a second suit is immediately opened against them by Facebook/Google/Twitter, etc. and hold that user liable for the lawsuit fees that are being incurred by whoever the litigious party is at the time.

This of course would generate a HUGE BACKLASH and people would be angry as hell about these ‘big corporate overlords attacking little old grandma just for being a little bit racist’. Then, they could arguably state that they are just following the law and attempting to recoup fees imposed on them by the Australian government’s asinine defamation lawsuit.

This obviously would be a pain for the Australian politicians as they would be blamed for setting up this mass litigation machine. Because these litigants want an easy payday from big tech, they might get it. But when the ‘little man’ has to start paying out, the Australian politicians might actually take notice.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

If anything, the tech companies should threaten that outcome before the government makes the proposed changes to that law. Nothing would turn public opinion against the proposal quicker than Twitter, Facebook, etc. saying “you pass this law and we’ll start suing our users when you sue us”.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

But that would come with a cost: How could anyone know they’re "violating TOS" with any given post, especially since the decision on whether the TOS is violated lies with a company that has every incentive to come down harshly on violations to avoid getting sued? Posts that might appear to violate TOS but are mere jokes if seen in context could end up getting someone banned/sued. It’s a bullshit idea, and the only people who would want to see it implemented are people who think they should get to control who can say what on the Internet.

I hope you’re not one of those people. The law can always be turned against you, after all. Or do you think your support of such a law would grant you a magical exemption from it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Platforms are not required to host content. The notice-and-takedown system prevents lawsuits. Distributors of gossip should stand behind the gossip as if they were publishers. That’s all the law says. These companies have lawyers who review public statements for such violations all the time.

Obviously the Australian government agrees with me but the "regulars" here have "punked" me so that’s the only really important victory they should enjoy.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Platforms are not required to host content.

My god, he’s learning.

The notice-and-takedown system prevents lawsuits.

Do you really want a DMCA system for defamation—a system where mere accusation alone is enough to silence what could be protected speech and punish the person who posted it, thus chilling their speech in the future?

Distributors of gossip should stand behind the gossip as if they were publishers. That’s all the law says.

And if Google were distributing “gossip”, you might have a point. But it’s not, so you don’t.

These companies have lawyers who review public statements for such violations all the time.

Small Mastodon instances don’t. For what reason should they be made to shut down if they can’t afford to offset their potential liability for what is only accused of being defamatory speech until it’s proven to be such in a court of law?

Obviously the Australian government agrees with me

You say that like you and the Aussie government are on the side of the angels instead of the side with both duct tape and the willingness to put it on people’s mouths.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Time for pass-through lawsuits...

Nah, Australia is a Murdochracy. If they tried it, they would be the big bad foreign company demonised in the media, and the Government would use it as an excuse to pass more bad laws to make a bad situation worse. The Government never met a bad law they couldn’t make worse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Time for pass-through lawsuits...

In Australia the Murdochracy is the big bad foreign company demonising their more profitable upstart rivals who have taken His ‘rivers of gold’ advertising revenue away. So it’s nothing personal, it’s only business.

And Murdoch’s business is getting politicians to change the laws to favour his companies & not his rivals. It’s so much easier to do that, than having to actually change your business model & compete in the marketplace. It’s only a bad law if Murdoch says it’s a bad law, & he ain’t crying foul yet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Time for pass-through lawsuits...

a second suit is immediately opened against them by Facebook/Google/Twitter, etc. and hold that user liable for the lawsuit fees that are being incurred by whoever the litigious party is at the time.

You mean exactly like most website user agreements have said for the last 20 years? I’ve never heard of sites doing that, but just search for "indemnify" and you’ll notice that tons of people have already agreed to pay the legal fees of the sites they use. Usually regardless of whether they did anything wrong or the initial suit has any merit.

I’d love to see a "HUGE BACKLASH" on those clauses. Even online shopping sites want you to pay their legal fees.

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Anonymous Coward says:

The law that’s in place has encouraged all sorts of litigation from people who would prefer to sue service providers and social media platforms, rather than the people who actually said defamatory things.

It’s called distributor liability. Have one of your lawyer buddies look it up. It’s a separate harm from publisher liability. Both can inflict the harm, but the speaker is usually judgment-proof, and isn’t the one to whom employers are turning when deciding whether or not to offer work.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Let’s say Google’s search engine spiders scrape a non-Google site that has alleged defamatory content on it. Let’s then say the defamed party finds that content through a Google search. For what reason should Google be held liable for content it neither published nor distributed?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Let’s say Google’s search engine spiders scrape a non-Google site that has alleged defamatory content on it. Let’s then say the defamed party finds that content through a Google search. For what reason should Google be held liable for content it neither published nor distributed?

The google search is distribution of the libel, and the cause of the harm, as the employer/whoever wouldn’t have found the libel without the search engine. Look up "distributor liability."

The threat of being sued by their ISP or Google will stop people from defaming others. The old saying "If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all" is very sound legal advice.

Of course any (hypothetical) lawyers who have made a mint by invoking SLAPP and Section 230 (any resemblance to actual lawyers who have done this and are fans of this site is purely coincidental) might not like laws like this but oh well.

Individual reputations can be protected very easily by search engines once they have a reason to do so. Right now this is viewed as acceptable loss to some, but obviously not to Australia.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that foreign law should influence American law, even if it is not precedential. Circuits often turn to other circuits, and states to other states, for the same reason.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Now with 10% more impotent threats

“Look up "distributor liability."

I’m not doing your homework for you bro.

“Of course any (hypothetical) lawyers who have made a mint by invoking SLAPP and Section 230 (any resemblance to actual lawyers who have done this and are fans of this site is purely coincidental)”

You got some prof for that wild conspiracy bullshit?

Of course not. You worked hard to get the nickname Cryin lyin Jhon. Why spoil it now?

“The old saying "If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all" is very sound legal advice.”

Have you stopped threatening to rape disabled people bro?

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Of course any (hypothetical) lawyers who have made a mint by invoking SLAPP and Section 230 (any resemblance to actual lawyers who have done this and are fans of this site is purely coincidental) might not like laws like this but oh well.

Please point out a single, on-the-record legal case where someone invoked both SLAPP laws and Section 230 as a means of making profit. If you can’t do that, shut the fuck up.

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The google search is distribution of the libel, and the cause of the harm, as the employer/whoever wouldn’t have found the libel without the search engine. Look up "distributor liability."

The distribution is by the person uploading the libel. What you’re suggesting would mean we couldn’t have search engines any more in case some chump posted defamatory statements somewhere. At least, they would be blocked in countries with such stupid laws. See Spain’s loss of Google services for details. It -could- happen.

The threat of being sued by their ISP or Google will stop people from defaming others. The old saying "If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all" is very sound legal advice.

That’s assuming they’d be easy to find. Given that foreign laws don’t apply in America you can expect companies based there to tell Google to go pound sand. It gets even more complicated if the defamer used a burner .ru email address at an internet cafe so can’t be traced. Or the defamer is based in another country.

Of course any (hypothetical) lawyers who have made a mint by invoking SLAPP and Section 230 (any resemblance to actual lawyers who have done this and are fans of this site is purely coincidental) might not like laws like this but oh well.

The loss of a functional search engine may be a sacrifice you’re willing to make. The rest of us, not so much. And you’re forgetting that libel and defamation laws differ throughout the globe. So unless that One World Government the mad conspiracy theorists area always wibbling on about actually happens, good luck with getting your idea from stupid fantasy to reality. Bear in mind that all the nasty things you’ve ever said about anyone would come back to bite you very hard on the bum.

Individual reputations can be protected very easily by search engines once they have a reason to do so. Right now this is viewed as acceptable loss to some, but obviously not to Australia.

The protection of your reputation is on you alone. If you can’t understand that behaving badly makes you look bad, that ain’t my problem. Remember, when a troll came after me to ruin my reputation, what saved me was that I simply don’t and never have behaved that way, and don’t intend to. Ever. Horrible comments and outright lies have no effect on the innocent, as my personal experience has proved. Actual harm done: zero. So even if I did know who the troll was or how to get hold of him, I’d have no standing to sue for that reason. I’d be wasting my money if I tried. Even the Australian courts would throw it out due to lack of proven harm.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that foreign law should influence American law, even if it is not precedential. Circuits often turn to other circuits, and states to other states, for the same reason.

I’m sure she did, but at no point should foreign laws take precedent over American ones. Anything that messes with the First Amendment won’t get over the line. Don’t forget that.

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btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The google search is distribution of the libel, and the cause of the harm, as the employer/whoever wouldn’t have found the libel without the search engine.

So you’re saying it’s illegal to tell people what’s on the internet– that at a fundamental level it would be illegal to just make a list of every web site on the internet?

And you think that squares with the 1st Amendment exactly how?

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Ahhh! You were doing so well, btr1701. I gave you your third Insightful vote for the comment above this but now… no. Bad btr1701.

First of all, where there is wisdom in a foreign law, why not implement it IF it doesn’t conflict with the Constitution?

Secondly, "old crone?" No need to be ageist and sexist, mate. Not okay. Your right wing knuckledragger slip is showing.

Thirdly, foreigners actually do make law for the United States via free trade agreements, as we are constantly reminded right here on TD. When Congress passes them into law, they cite "our international obligations" as the reason for doing so. Copyright law is a classic example thereof.

Take your right wing blinkers off, they’re stopping you from seeing the truth.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Secondly, "old crone?" No need to be ageist and sexist, mate. Not okay. Your right wing knuckledragger slip is showing.

Why is it that it’s only "ageist, sexist, whatver-ist and knuckledragging" when a liberal/leftist politician is called derogatory names? Trump and other conservative pols are regularly called all manner of vile and bigoted names on this site by commenters and I don’t remember you ever running in to chide them for it as you’ve done here.

foreigners actually do make law for the United States via free trade agreements, as we are constantly reminded right here on TD. When Congress passes them into law…

In that case, it’s Congress making the law, not foreigners. No foreigner is imposing law on U.S. citizens. For good or ill, it’s the elected representatives that are doing that.

And even so, the Constitution is the supreme law of the nation, so if a treaty conflicts with it,the treaty fails.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_presidents_of_the_United_States_who_owned_slaves

Woodrow Wilson signed a eugenics law when he was a governor of New Jersey.

Martin Van Buren did the illegal indian removals/genocide

Tyler became a confederate states of america senator

There are some others that did some questionable stuff but Van Buren and Tyler didn’t come close to being impeached even though they were probably the worst presidents.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

Yeah.. let’s talk about egregious, unnecessary cruelty and scandals. How does Trump fare in that area?

Bear in mind that Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds and continuing involvement in the Middle East and Afghanistan, not to mention interference in South American politics is raising the body count.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

He is actually pretty good tbh. It’s not a fair comparison though because in Washington’s day the technology they had to prevent smallpox was to slather live smallpox infection puss on a cut and hope it the small exposure to the live dangerous virus didn’t kill them.

It was better than not doing it but it actually did kill a lot of people, just less than without it.

There was no penicillin in the civil war and they treated dysentery by taking away water which makes the symptoms go away but often kills the patient.

Trump didn’t completely abandon the Kurds. He has been negotiating with Erdogan to find a solution that doesn’t include Turkey going on the offensive against Syrian Kurds the entire time. Erdogan, Pelosi, Trump, and I think McConell were just in the White House the other day making the best deal they can for the Kurds. A few died in a Turkish operation. I wish they didn’t but it was not a large death toll.

I have no idea why you think the US is responsible for South America right now.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Why is it that it’s only "ageist, sexist, whatver-ist and knuckledragging" when a liberal/leftist politician is called derogatory names? Trump and other conservative pols are regularly called all manner of vile and bigoted names on this site by commenters and I don’t remember you ever running in to chide them for it as you’ve done here.

It’s reasonable to call out bad behaviour. Remember how I pointed out that Trump actually kept his promise to donate his salary? When he gets stuff right I do say so. And Trump does behave badly. It’s not bigoted to call out bad behavior. If liberal/leftist politicians behave badly, we call them out for it. Remember "Spy-stein?" We don’t let them get away with it. Now, since you want to discuss this, tell me what bad behavior Ruth Bader Ginsburg indulged in, and why you opted to denigrate her age and sexual attractiveness instead of having a go at the actual things she did.

Yes, I called Trump the Mango Mussolini but he does act like a dictator and he’s fake all the way through. Can you say the same for a certain Supreme Court judge?

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

It’s reasonable to call out bad behaviour.

Commenters here regularly use pejoratives that fall under many of your many "-ism" categories regarding pols and government officials (and other commenters) merely for being conservative. No bad behavior necessary.

Since that seems to be the culture here– that it’s acceptable to hurl insults merely for having a difference in politics– then I see no reason why liberal/left pols and government officials shouldn’t get the same treatment. Again, no actual bad behavior necessary.

And that’s the reason I do it. So that I can periodically highlight the double-standard and hypocrisy in the community here.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

"Caging kiddies is wrong" is not a difference of opinion or politics. It’s flat out unacceptable, whoever does it. Yes, I mean when Obama did it. Wrong.

"Rape and sexual abuse, and contributing thereto or excusing sexually predatory behaviour is wrong" is not a difference of opinion or politics. It’s flat out unacceptable, whoever does it. Yes, I mean when Clinton and Franken did it. Wrong.

"Abuse of position to get dirt on political rivals is wrong" is not a difference of opinion or politics. It’s flat out unacceptable, whoever does it. Yes, I mean if any other party leader or activist it. Wrong.

"Robbing the poor box" as Trump did when he used his "charity" as a piggybank is not a difference of opinion or politics. It’s flat out unacceptable, whoever does it. Yes, I mean when anyone else does it. Wrong.

Shall I continue? I’ve got all day.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Yes, I mean when anyone else does it. Wrong. Shall I continue? I’ve got all day.

Also, even if the behavior is wrong, it’s still not appropriate to use racist, sexist, ageist, fill-in-the-blank-ist or -phobic insults to address it, correct?

I mean, you cited Obama’s bad behavior above with regard to "caging kiddies". So would it be okay to address that bad behavior by calling Obama the n-word?

I’m going to assume your answer to that is no. Therefore, all this talk about ‘bad behavior’ is irrelevant, since using "–ist" and "–phobic" insults toward someone, even if they’re behaving badly, is wildly inappropriate.

Which then brings me back to my original question: Why do you never criticize TechDirt commenters who do exactly that with regard to conservative politicians, government officials, and other commenters?

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

"…using "–ist" and "–phobic" insults toward someone, even if they’re behaving badly, is wildly inappropriate.

If the hat fits, wear it. Neither "–ist" nor "–phobic" are racist or insulting per se, they’re descriptive of bad behaviour. "Racist" is an epithet often used on Trump. Why? Racist policies and his past as a landlord excluding black people.

"Transphobic" is an epithet often used on Trump. Why? He wants to ban transgender personnel from the army when the army has no problem with them.

They are not bigoted, they’re descriptive. Had Obama behaved like this, we’d have said the same things about him. Nobody’s picking on Trump because he’s white, disabled, or anything like that. We pick on him for his scandal-ridden administration (he may have set a new record for the most staff members indicted and/or jailed while working for a sitting president), bad decisions, conspiracy mongering, norm-ignoring, bad manners, abandonment of allies, and general stupidity and cruelty. You know he’s bad if he makes Bush II look like a respectable elder statesman. Drop the torch, there are better people to support. Governor Weld seems like the kind of decent, gracious man you could get behind without cause or reason to defend him. If he was elected president, I doubt we’d have much to complain about.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

Neither "–ist" nor "–phobic" are racist or insulting per se

We’re not talking about calling someone ageist. We’re talking about referring to someone in an ageist way, like I did with Ginsburg.

Plenty of commenters here use derogatory terms for people whose behavior they don’t like that are bigoted. Here’s just one example of many:

In the comments after a story about a cop that behaved badly, we have a commenter who used a sizeist slur to refer to the cop’s appearance instead of criticizing what the cop did.

"One more thing Pike, you are a tubby little shit."

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160414/05383534178/lets-all-talk-about-stuff-that-uc-davis-spent-175k-trying-to-keep-off-these-internets.shtml

They are not bigoted, they’re descriptive.

So was ‘old crone’…

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

I’m tubby. Okay, you get that one.

Old crone, however, is pretty much the same thing as what Silvio Berlusconi called Angela Merkel in 2011.

So basically you’re judging her on whether or not you fancy her. Years of faithful service and jurisprudence cast aside because you don’t find her sexually attractive. Your misogynist slip is showing.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Re:

And my point is, that same thing happens with regularity here, with commenters referring both to politicians/officials, and other commenters, in exactly that way for the grave sin of not being liberal/progressive.

But you only criticize when leftists are the target of it.

because you don’t find her sexually attractive.

More just a commentary on how old people are cranky and stodgy than anything to do with sex.

Just like that "okay, boomer" meme that’s become popular lately. It’s literally just a different way of calling someone an "old crone" but the boomer meme is popular among leftists, so that makes it okay, I guess.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Re:

I don’t use it and I’m not a leftist, which seems to mean "Anyone who’s not a right wing racist baby-caging maniac."

The grave sins are the racism and the baby-caging, etc. Leaving a kid to die alone on a concrete floor from the flu, then blaming his parents for bringing him to the US would be an example of that.

You don’t have to desire to bring all industry under state control (actual leftism) to have a bit of compassion for the desperate, miserable people driven north by (checks notes) US foreign policy, i.e. backing right wing militias in their countries and pursuing the meaningless War on Drugs.

Ginsberg is dreadful on copyright, etc. I’ll criticise the hell out of her for that. Remember "Spystein?" Not keen on that one either. Kamala Harris? Vapid grandstanding hack. Andrew Yang — "Free money!!" Clueless chump. Biden — meh! Warren — I like her but she needs to do her research on tech as she doesn’t seem to know much about it.

We’ve all criticised "leftists" here because they get things wrong and it annoys us. Only on the right do we see blind allegiance. If you behave badly expect to be criticised.

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Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Um, Bloomberg hasn’t been mayor since 2013. You could make an argument that he influenced the current mayor Bill DeBlasio vis-à-vis tobacco, vaping, and e-cigs, but his influence on the government (unless you’re talking about his media or lobbying influence (and NYC has strong public funding of elections)) is gone once he leaves office.

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Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I can literally name the K Street PR firm that worked with the CDC to "massage the message."

Then that means the K Street firm in question is at fault, along with DeBlasio since he went along with it during his administration. If you’re going to blame Bloomberg for stuff he did outside of his administration not related to his media empire, I’d like to hear the evidence.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: I bet

The time when freedom is most endangered, is when lawmakers are in session.

Which is why the Texas legislature only meets for 6 months every two years, the thought being that if they’re not in session, they can’t be fucking around with your life too much.

It also has the added benefit of forcing the politicians to concentrate on actual necessary work when they are in session instead of wasting time with endless bullshit and investigations of their opponents and who-knows-what. They have six months to pass needed laws, appropriate funding, and budget the entire state for the next two years. Doesn’t leave a lot of time for fucking around with political theater and other nonsense.

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Someone who is defamed every time they are "Googled" can seek refuge in Australia, because the search engines are stubborn that way. They could just remove the content globally.

That is way beyond nonsensical. Get help!

People aren’t defamed when someone looks them up. People are defamed when someone posts lies about them that causes actual harm, e.g. loss of earnings. What you’re proposing is a business model based on trolling search engines for butthurt money. No.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Don’t forget the rape of promises me

Bitch please. I’m still waiting for my subpoena that you promised was on the way. And the press release, and the devastating journalistic expose, and the local, state, and federal police charges, etc, etc , etc.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Who says I’m not doing it?

You. You’re not showing us proof that you’re doing it, so you’re not doing it. Prove you’re doing it, right here and now. Or are you a coward who hides behind a bunch of big talk like a shitheaded playground bully? C’mon, Jhon, quit being a bully and be a fucking man about it! Nut up or shut up! Show us your big swinging dick instead of talking about how you totally banged a supermodel with it!

…what I’m saying is you’re a liar. Come at me, you free-speech-hating bitch.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

White supremacists often don’t reach the level of klan or nazis.

Klan, in its various iterations and long history, hates jews, catholics, non-christians, and inter-racial association of any type.

They are, of course, wrong but better than nazis because they don’t want to exterminate the other races, they just don’t want any form of racial integration or interracial gatherings or relationships.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

You’ve been saying that since last year, boasting about how the nukes are coming to destroy everyone up the magical Masnick food chain you’d been hunting and tracking for years, using patron money for your mailing lists.

But nah, the biggest thing you’ve managed to achieve here is to lose your shit when a judge declared that in order to have copyright enforced on something, you actually have to have it registered first. Same thing when another judge ruled that IP addresses pulled out of your MarkMonitor ass aren’t substantial enough to count as evidence. That was half a year ago.

Go on, then – put your real name or your pseudonym, just have fun having it tied to a remark where you boasted your enjoyment of stepping on "little boy dicks".

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Anyone defamed in the US can currently move to AUS and retire on what they’d win in a lawsuit against the search engines, or they can just hire a lawyer to do it for them there.

Unless they could prove actual harm, good luck with that. As I pointed out earlier, there would be no payola for me. I didn’t lose my job, I got promoted shortly afterwards because I was able to prove it was a troll post. If that person who helped to spread it by blogging about me hadn’t screenshotted the email she received from the troll, I’d have had little in the way of evidence that I’d been targeted by a troll. She did more to exonerate me than anything else I could get hold of.

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Nathan F (profile) says:

So if this does pass Facebook and Twitter should implement the publisher editor function by holding all Facebook and Twitter posts by government officials until someone there can vet and fact check it. I forsee many a politicans posts disappearing into the ether.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Ah to be a fly on that wall...

‘Hey, you were the one who made us liable for checking posts, we’re just doing to you what you would have us do to all the other people who use our platform. Don’t worry though, we’ll be sure to get around to vetting and allowing your comments after we get through the other stuff, should only take us… oh, several years at this rate, but that’s a small price to pay to make sure that we only allow good stuff on our platform, so I’m sure you’ll be able to deal with any delay just fine.’

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ah to be a fly on that wall...

That is nonsense, Jhon. Search engines can’t control people’s posting habits, they can only try to clean up after the fact. Your ignorance of how indexing works is not my problem and it shouldn’t be anyone’s.

Remember, delisting the link doesn’t mean the comment can’t be found, it’s just harder to find. Anyone who has the link and posts it again, or takes a screenshot and therefore changes the link, gets it re-listed automatically. No one could afford to hire the number of butthurt monitors required to make your mad idea work.

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btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Ah to be a fly on that wall...

Search engines can’t control people’s posting habits, they can only try to clean up after the fact.

Why should they even have to do that? If I’m running a search engine, my job is to tell you and everyone else what’s on the internet, not to help clean up the mess someone else put on the internet.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Ah to be a fly on that wall...

"Why should they even have to do that? If I’m running a search engine, my job is to tell you and everyone else what’s on the internet, not to help clean up the mess someone else put on the internet."

Because according to Jhon/Blue/Bobmail/Baghdad Bob there, someone suitably for suing needs to be held responsible for everything posted or communicated on the internet. Otherwise it’s hard to get to all those damn pirates…

The entire logic loop he keeps spinning around distributor liability is based on the idea that copyright enforcement will be far easier and more lucrative if you can abolish or circumvent free speech.

And THAT is why he, at least, keeps harping on 230. It sets a nasty principle of platform holders and infrastructure NOT being liable for users.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ah to be a fly on that wall...

"The market will yield a company that manages to do just fine, like those who don’t fire workers after the minimum wage goes up."

Nope. The market won’t be able to produce ANY company able to make a profit or even to exist in the legal paradigm you envision.

"Product safety for our car is just TOO expensive…"

That’s not what you’re asking for. You’re asking for a law which makes the car manufacturer liable every time someone uses the (fully functional) car for speeding or while drunk.

You’re also asking for a law which makes the hardware store liable when some psycho uses the screwdriver they sold to stab someone.

But you knew that, Jhon boy. I think we were more impressed with you back when you held your old job of shilling for saddam, Baghdad bob.

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Zof (profile) says:

People should get this protection the old fashion way instead.

The way you get protection from journalists and media sites is by being a wealthy elite. That’s how you can own Amazon, cheat on your wife, and it barely gets covered. That’s how your druggie son can get a job with a corrupt foreign energy company, and the entire Media will downplay it. These stupid poors need to stop wanting things the 1 percenters have. They need to say in their lane.

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btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

If you criticize Democrats/liberals/progressives for corruption and nepotism but ignore the corruption and nepotism of Republicans / conservatives / regressives, you look like a hypocrite.

That happens all the time here. Conservatives are constantly criticized by the regulars here while the same behavior by ‘progressives’ is ignored. It’s weird how you never call them out on it like you’re doing here.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Maybe it’s because it’s not part of the story that the regulars are commenting on. Maybe it’s because whataboutDemocrats is, at this point, older and more full of holes, than the shroud of turin. Maybe it’s because one side really is worse than the other and has nothing but basic bitch projection left as a defence. Maybe it’s because use you ignore all the times other side gets called out to fit your shit narrative. Maybe it’s because the regulars here really are massive hypocrites that overlook any that has a D next to their name. Ima go with Occam’s razor and say you’re full of shit bro.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

It’s weird how you never call them out on it like you’re doing here.

Oh, you mean behavior like starting the immigrant family separation program that was exacerbated by Trump, or the ramping up of drone strikes regardless of innocent lives lost, or the war on whistleblowers such as Ed Snowden? Because all of that was bullshit, and all of it was done under the Obama administration. I may not have been overly critical of some of those things (among others) at the time, but at least I can own up to that and try to do better about it in the future. Can you say the same about yourself?

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"That happens all the time here. Conservatives are constantly criticized by the regulars here while the same behavior by ‘progressives’ is ignored."

How do i put this…? When Clinton sticks his wee-wee in a consenting adult other than his wife and tries to weasel out of it that topic is on an entirely different scale than when GWB opens camps in third world hellholes where US military personnel are encouraged to practice torture and rape. Or when the VP stands up and defends the practice.

Democrat misbehavior HAS been heavily criticized by liberals – witness the way Obama went from hopeful star, then to lame duck, then was hung in effigy by liberal press because he failed, for instance, to close gitmo or had a field day drone-bombing civilians in the third world.

It’s just that republican presidents lately tend to fuck shit up just THAT much more. GWB and his cadre of neocon misfits were bad enough when they fabricated an excuse for a war of aggression out of whole cloth leading to an estimated half million civilian dead as a direct result…and then there was Trump, who makes Nixon look like a choir boy and GWB as a pillar of respectability and reason.

Just look at your current CiC. Then TRY to find a good reason why any reasonable person would even try to apportion equal blame to both sides.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

For countries with tougher defamation laws, a notice and takedown system would probably be the fairest way to settle the issue.

No, it wouldn’t. The DMCA has such a system — and a long, documented history of the abuses of that system to silence protected speech for any number of reasons. Applying the same system to defamation would silence more speech than I can bear to imagine, most of it not even defamatory. Without hesitation or hyperbole, I say the following: Fuck. That. Shit.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The DMCA is the alternative to just haling ISPs and websites into court, so it works just fine. It has a counter-notification system which could apply equally to libel laws.

A recent law-school grad who is defamed via search engines (which pick up even a single posting from a small "hate website") and loses a career because of this is an "acceptable loss" to the pro-230 crowd. Destruction of the reputation of innocent people is just "collateral damage." Doubt anyone who claims to believe this would still believe it if THEIR ox were being gored.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The DMCA notice-and-takedown system is a just-barely-judicial system of copyright enforcement that takes down content upon mere accusation without the need to prove that accusation true. Any defamation law that does the same would slow speech on the Internet to a crawl, if not stop it altogether, because of the chilling effect of taking down protected speech based on a mere accusation. Who would post anything on the Internet if someone offended by a given post could have it taken down by saying “this offended and maybe defamed me”? And if the same system from the DMCA applied to defamation, not only would the takedown punish the person responsible for the content, it would rarely (if ever) punish someone for filing a false takedown notice.

And as for this statement:

Destruction of the reputation of innocent people is just "collateral damage."

You seem to ignore the rampant abuse of the DMCA and the “collateral damage” said abuse does to free speech and expression on the Internet. Then again, I’m not the least bit surprised by that. No one who seriously defends the concept and principles of free speech could ever look at a notice-and-takedown system for defamation and see anything good. And you don’t seriously defend free speech, given how eager you are to threaten and cajole Mike into silencing himself.

How about you threaten me for a change, you free-speech-hating bitch?

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btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

A recent law-school grad who is defamed via search engines (which pick up even a single posting from a small "hate website")

That’s not defamation. Your hypothetical law grad actually did post something unsavory on that web site. So the search engine results are true. Truth is the ultimate defense to a claim of defamation. For something to be defamatory, it has to be false.

and loses a career because of this is an "acceptable loss" to the pro-230 crowd. Destruction of the reputation of innocent people is just "collateral damage

The guy you described is not ‘innocent’. He actually did what he’s accused of doing and for which he was fired.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

For countries with tougher defamation laws, a notice and takedown system would probably be the fairest way to settle the issue.

It would certainly make it a lot easier for scammers, quacks and con artists to protect their business models, along with every company removing any bad reviews of their products.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

And anyone who was reported to anything for behaving badly would have that speech silenced. Results: all sorts of bad behaviour going unchecked and unchallenged.

We’ve already had convicted paedophiles try to get search results removed because they contained details of their criminal convictions. Do you really want no way of vetting people for criminal activity?

Now imagine the impact on newspapers and other media outlets. They would lose access to the internet as their reports would be suppressed from the search results. That’s what you want, Jhon, isn’t it?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

We’ve already had convicted paedophiles try to get search results removed because they contained details of their criminal convictions. Do you really want no way of vetting people for criminal activity?

How about vetting search engines for defamation they allow to remain in their servers even after it’s pointed out that it’s defamatory? We’ve also had people who are NOT pedophiles falsely accused of pedophilia, harmed or even KILLED by “vigilantes” who find the lies on Google, we’ve had women targeted for revenge porn who can’t sue the search engines in the US (the exception was a case where the RP site owner was involved in the upuloading), and we’ve had businesses suffer reputation blackmail with threats of spambots destroying them with false reviews that sites are immune from being sued over (so you can’t trust any internet advertising).

Take away 230 protection and sites have to stand behind what appears on them, as they should. Anyone who thinks someone being falsely accused of pedophilia (or a revenge porn victim, etc.) is an “acceptable loss” is not worth much in this debate.

Moderation at scale is quite possible if it’s based on a notice-and-takedown scheme. Leaving people defenseless against a single internet 4Chan type with an axe to grind is not the answer. People have a right to protect their good name.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

How about vetting search engines for defamation they allow to remain in their servers even after it’s pointed out that it’s defamatory?

Google isn’t under any legal obligation to remove such content. That it does is worth commending. But it is neither the distributor nor the publisher of such content, no matter how much you want to stretch the law and the definition of “distributor” to suit your censorial agenda, and it has no obligation to act as such.

We’ve also had people who are NOT pedophiles falsely accused of pedophilia, harmed or even KILLED by "vigilantes" who find the lies on Google

They find the lies through Google. The lies are on other websites, and last time I checked, Google doesn’t own the entire Internet.

we’ve had women targeted for revenge porn who can’t sue the search engines in the US (the exception was a case where the RP site owner was involved in the upuloading)

Gee, it’s almost as if revenge porn sites and the people who post to them are the ones that should be held responsible for revenge porn~.

we’ve had businesses suffer reputation blackmail with threats of spambots destroying them with false reviews that sites are immune from being sued over

[citation needed]

Take away 230 protection and sites have to stand behind what appears on them

Take away 230 protection and sites won’t have to stand behind what appears on them because they won’t let anything appear on them. You seriously think Twitter, Discord, FurAffinity, DeviantArt, 4chan, 420chan, any given Mastodon instance, any given forum, and basically any website or service that hosts/allows for third-party speech would ever let such speech on those platforms if the platform operators could be held liable for speech they neither published nor directly helped publish?

People have a right to protect their good name.

How far would you let them go to protect it? What line are you not prepared to cross in your holy crusade against free speech?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

We’ve also had people who are NOT pedophiles falsely accused of pedophilia, harmed or even KILLED by "vigilantes" who find the lies on Google,

That has also happened due to rumours spread in the local pub. The problem is not the means of communications, but rather people spreading and believing rumours.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

You chose to boast about stomping on little boy dicks, John.

John Smith isn’t even your real name. We know this because "John Smith" is a name common enough to the extent it’s basically as good as saying "John Doe". And last I checked "John Smith" has not become a synonym for pedophilia no matter how hard you’re trying to make it.

False accusations and advertising have existed before 230 and will continue to do so even after your wet dream of 230 dying. Get over yourself.

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

How about vetting search engines for defamation they allow to remain in their servers even after it’s pointed out that it’s defamatory?

The crap about me remained on their servers until it was taken down by the hosting sites and the Google cache cleared. "Pointing out" and proving defamation are different things, and laws vary from country to country. In America, I understand they vary from state to state. You’re barking up the wrong tree. If a defamation is hosted anywhere, it’s on the website on which the comments are published. Your best bet is to contact the website owners/mods with any evidence you have that the posts are incorrect or violate their TOS. When they’re gone from the host they’ll go from the search engines. Why? THIS IS HOW SEARCH ENGINES WORK! They index website content.

Some websites might not comply, but your own conduct should be proof enough of your innocence. It was in my case. I have ZERO black marks against my name because it’s hard to take an hysterical anonymous troll seriously when he accuses you of a criminal offence yet does not report this to the authorities.

We’ve also had people who are NOT pedophiles falsely accused of pedophilia, harmed or even KILLED by "vigilantes" who find the lies on Google, we’ve had women targeted for revenge porn who can’t sue the search engines in the US (the exception was a case where the RP site owner was involved in the upuloading), and we’ve had businesses suffer reputation blackmail with threats of spambots destroying them with false reviews that sites are immune from being sued over (so you can’t trust any internet advertising).

Google is not the source of those lies. It’s like suing the Government for building the road on which an assailant travelled or a car manufacturer for building the car. Go to the source and report. If they don’t comply, you have the option to sue if you can afford it. I was polite and provided proof to all the website admins where the lies about me were hosted. Result: only one unreliable website hosts them. That website gave me the option to post a rebuttal linking to the evidence proving my accuser is a troll. Result: anyone clicking on that link sees my rebuttal. So I’m both accused and proven innocent every time someone clicks on the link.

Take away 230 protection and sites have to stand behind what appears on them, as they should.

Sites should not be obliged to police their users’ behaviour, but I’m with you on enforcement of TOS. If a user violates TOS, report it. If they don’t deal with it, at least leave a rebuttal so people can see both sides of the story. In my case it was [accusation] v [proof of troll activity]. No harm done to me.

Anyone who thinks someone being falsely accused of pedophilia (or a revenge porn victim, etc.) is an "acceptable loss" is not worth much in this debate.

Give the farmer back his straw. Nobody is saying that. You are arguing in bad faith if you insist that people who disagree with you are in favour of malfeasance. We’re not. You’re using the wrong tool for the job. You refuse to acknowledge that I myself was subject to false allegations. Had I lost my job over it, would I have blamed anyone but the troll? No. The troll alone is responsible for his behaviour.

Moderation at scale is quite possible if it’s based on a notice-and-takedown scheme. Leaving people defenseless against a single internet 4Chan type with an axe to grind is not the answer.

Nobody is "defenseless" against the imaginary might of a 4Chan-type troll. In any case, the people attacked by vigilante mobs over accusations of kiddie fiddling (it happened over here in the UK) were victims of The Sun, a Murdoch gutter tabloid rag. It wasn’t the internet, it was an irresponsible "newspaper." ::Spits::

People have a right to protect their good name.

You ain’t gonna do that by turning the internet into an authoritarian dictatorship, bub.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Yet another round of 'nerd harder'

"My own view … is that online platforms, so far as reasonably possible, should be held to essentially the same standards as other publishers," Mr Porter told an audience at the National Press Club.

‘Reason’ would say that holding a platform that can get tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions or more posts per day to the same standard as a paper who only publishes perhaps several dozen particular things per day that they have personally vetted would be beyond absurd, so quite clearly ‘reasonably possible’ has been thrown to the curb.

"But you have to, of course, take into account, reasonable, sensible measures for how you do that … because of the volume of what goes on in Twitter and Facebook is much larger than the volume from a standard newspaper."

Yes, you do, so why are you so clearly not doing that?

They may be trying to hide behind ‘I’m only calling for reasonable things’ but their motive of demanding that vastly different platforms be treated the same despite the significant differences is still crystal clear, and as always makes about as much sense as saying that that bikes and airplanes should be treated the same under the law because both of them involve transportation.

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Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Yet another round of 'nerd harder'

^This. Moderation at scale is hard. It’s difficult enough to get the most egregious content delisted, but to police our speech in case it causes offence? I routinely slag off politicians because I think they’re doing a lousy job. If such a law were passed and someone complained, my blog would be shuttered. We’ve already had police that the door of a blogger for complaining about UKIP on his blog.

Unless we’re all happy to live in a totalitarian dystopia in which only Teletubbies-level conversation is acceptable, I say we should nip this censorial crap in the bud and push back against such laws. Hard. Law-making should be based on evidence, not knee-jerk reactions to the worst case scenarios.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Yet another round of 'nerd harder'

As newspapers have trouble even vetting those few stories they publish either in print or online maybe the AG can get real tough on the papers first to show the world how it’s done by going after the Sydney Daily Telegraph (Tell me crap) which is owned by Murdoch. Well not if he wants to keep his job.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/oct/23/doctored-documents-angus-taylor-news-corp-climate-clover-moore

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

*We’ve already had convicted paedophiles try to get search results removed because they contained details of their criminal convictions. Do you really want no way of vetting people for criminal activity?*

How about vetting search engines for defamation they allow to remain in their servers even after it’s pointed out that it’s defamatory? We’ve also had people who are NOT pedophiles falsely accused of pedophilia, harmed or even KILLED by “vigilantes” who find the lies on Google, we’ve had women targeted for revenge porn who can’t sue the search engines in the US (the exception was a case where the RP site owner was involved in the upuloading), and we’ve had businesses suffer reputation blackmail with threats of spambots destroying them with false reviews that sites are immune from being sued over (so you can’t trust any internet advertising).

Take away 230 protection and sites have to stand behind what appears on them, as they should. Anyone who thinks someone being falsely accused of pedophilia (or a revenge porn victim, etc.) is an “acceptable loss” is not worth much in this debate.

Moderation at scale is quite possible if it’s based on a notice-and-takedown scheme. Leaving people defenseless against a single internet 4Chan type with an axe to grind is not the answer. People have a right to protect their good name.

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