from the aka-the-best-of-section-230 dept
This week, there was lots of chatter about Arthur Chu's wrongheaded attack on Section 230 safe harbors, and one defender of his position made the argument that anonymity and lack of responsibility on the internet is a new and problematic thing. Gwiz won most insightful comment of the week by pushing back against this notion:
Essentially, you can say anything on the internet and not be responsible for it. Yet in real life, if you said those things, you would be taken to task for them.
Bullshit. Anonymity has always been an integral part of our society here in the US. From the founding fathers all the way up to the Supreme Court, the importance of anonymity in our society has been reiterated over and over again:Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. [...] It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation--and their ideas from suppression--at the hand of an intolerant society.You seem to want to remove this very important safeguard just because "it's on the internet". That's stupid and dangerous.
McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm'n (93-986), 514 U.S. 334 (1995)
In second place, we've got a double winner, sitting in the number two spot for both insightful and funny. After PETA defended its attempt to claim copyright of the famous monkey selfie on behalf of the monkey, sorrykb couldn't let it slide when a PETA representative told one interviewer that a question was "silly":
Says the man claiming to represent the copyright interests of a monkey.
(It won despite a slight word-replication error, which I've removed here so as not to further taint the excellent point.)
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with DannyB and his response to the ISP that is blocking Facebook and Google ads in an attempt to extract a toll:
Dear ISP (both landline and mobile):
Google, Netflix, Facebook, etc are not riding your pipes for free.
They pay their bandwidth bill, handsomely, at their end of the connection.
It is YOUR OWN CUSTOMERS who are using your bandwidth. YOUR CUSTOMERS are choosing to go to Google, or to whatever sites that use whatever bandwidth that customer uses. (Note: your customer might not even use Google at all, but still uses your bandwidth.)
If you need to build and develop your network, then it is YOUR CUSTOMERS who pay for that. Not the rest of the world.
(Pay attention Comcast, since you should hear this too.)
Here are a few other things to consider.
What if Google encrypts all communication between YOUR CUSTOMER and Google's servers? You would have no idea what packets are ads, email, video, instant messages, or anything else. You could only block all or nothing.
I suppose you could just block all of Google. Facebook. Netflix. And every other important major internet property.
I'm sure that will make your customers very happy.
Next, since we're talking about the blocking of ads, it seems like time to slip in a reminder that we announced the ability to turn off ads on Techdirt this week. There were lots of great responses, and one from rw actually placed fifth on the insightful leaderboard, so here it is as an editor's choice:
I just wanted to thank you for being courageous enough to do this. I've been an Insider for as long as you have offered it and I still have my "Looooots for shirts" t-shirt. I am more than willing to support you through these types of things, especially if I get to kill the ads. Too bad others don't follow this example.
Over on the funny side, we start out with a reaction to Microsoft's evasive treatment of the major privacy concerns surrounding Windows 10. After one commenter provided a laundry list of complaints about the new OS, Michael won first place for funny by encountering technical difficulties:
I started typing a response agreeing with you, but Cortana interrupted me and explained why you were wrong.
Windows 10 is awesome!
We've already had the second place comment above, so we'll move straight on to the editor's choice, where we start out with jameshogg's response to Amazon's rationale for banning competing streaming video devices:
"Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime," Amazon said in the e-mail. "It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion."
Instead of "Reader Comments," rename this area "Section 230".
That's all for this week, folks!