More Thoughts On The Senate's SESTA Hearing

from the what-is-the-plan-here dept

So far this week, we've explained why SESTA is such a bad bill and how it will create a massive chilling effect that could impact nearly every online service. And while the Senate hearing on the bill wasn't as bad as we feared it would be, it certainly had its problematic moments -- such as when the bill's co-author, Senator Richard Blumenthal, argued that companies that couldn't afford to moderate/filter everything should be prosecuted. However, in the days since the hearing, I've had a few thoughts about aspects of the debate that are, to say the very least, troubling.

"Do Something Now!": While it was good to see many Senators at least pay lip service to the idea that the bill needed changes to not have massive unintended consequences for the entire internet, it was troubling the way they approached this process. Prior to the hearing, Emma Llanso wrote up a list of four important questions Senators should ask during the hearing -- and none of them were asked. The key questions were fairly fundamental ones: what actual gap is there in the law and will this fix it? It was disturbing that no one seemed to discuss that at all.

After all, under CDA 230 today, nothing stops federal law enforcement from going after Backpage (other than if the DOJ doesn't think Backpage broke the law). CDA 230 does not cover federal government law enforcement. Similarly, CDA 230 does not cover content "developed" by a company itself. So, if as many people claim, Backpage develops illegal content itself, it's still liable. Finally, just a few years ago, Congress passed the SAVE Act, with the exact same stated intent: to carve a hole in CDA 230 to go after Backpage by making it a federal crime to advertise sex trafficking. That law hasn't been used -- and none of the Senators seem to be asking why.

Instead, there's very much the traditional politician's syllogism of "we must do something, this is something, we will do it." A few times during the hearing, Senators demanded from the two opponents to SESTA that they provide better language if they're concerned about this language. Notice the problem here: they were admitting that this language is problematic, but seemed to have no interest in understanding why or how to fix it -- instead, demanding that others give them new language, with the implicit threat that if they don't, this language will stay because this is "something."

That may be all too common, but it seems like a dreadful way to make policy.

The knowledge standard is a mess: This is important, and got some discussion during the hearing, but not nearly enough. The "knowledge" standard in the bill is a complete and total mess. The supporters of the bill brushed it off as no big deal, often by misstating what the bill actually says. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra focused solely on the criminal standards for knowledge, saying he needed to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that there was intent, while NCMEC's Yiota Souras insisted the knowledge standard was very narrowly tailored.

Both of them are wrong -- in somewhat staggering and dangerous ways. Again, the actual text of the bill says the following:

The term ‘participation in a venture’ means knowing conduct by an individual or entity, by any means, that assists, supports, or facilitates a violation [of sex trafficking laws.]

This is problematic on multiple levels. First "knowing conduct" by itself is vague and not clearly defined. As Professor Eric Goldman suggested during the hearing, knowing conduct could just mean that a platform knows it's doing something, but has no idea of the outcome. For example, if we knowingly allow users to post comments on our site -- and someone uses that to post sex trafficking ads -- even though we didn't know they were posting sex trafficking ads, our conduct in enabling comments was "knowing." If that sounds like a crazy scenario to you, fair enough -- but shouldn't the law state that much more clearly? Make it clear that the knowledge is not just of its own conduct, but that the conduct is specifically targeted at breaking the law.

The second problem with the knowledge standard is the claim that you can violate the law if your "knowing conduct" "by any means"... "assists, supports or facilitates a violation" of sex trafficking laws. As we explained earlier, assists, supports or facilitates is super broad. It's possible to read this to mean that hosting a website where someone sets up a blog to advertise sex trafficking makes you automatically liable -- even if you knew nothing of the actual content. After all, you did "knowing conduct" (hosting a website) and that website was used to "assist, support or facilitate" a violation of sex trafficking laws. We would not read the law this way, but as the language is currently written, it could very well be read that way.

And that means it will be read that way by someone. We've seen tons of civil lawsuits filed against deep-pocketed companies (and not so deep-pocketed companies) on a much more flimsy basis. If you don't think a bunch of lawyers won't be searching for such cases to bring, you haven't paid much attention.

And these lawsuits can be very costly and time-consuming. Remember the Viacom v. YouTube case? That was an intermediary liability case that was almost entirely focused on the question of whether YouTube had the requisite knowledge to be liable (sound familiar?). And it went on for more than seven years before it was finally settled, rather than having a court issue a final ruling. With such a weak knowledge standard (even weaker than the DMCA's that was fought over in the Viacom case), you can bet there will be long and costly lawsuits over just what the hell Congress meant by "knowledge."

It's fairly stunning and concerning that those pushing for the bill insist there's no problem with the knowledge language. It's as if they have no idea of the fairly recent litigation history over this very issue.

A lack of enforcement isn't fixed by blaming intermediaries: As mentioned, nothing in CDA 230 stops the Justice Department from going after intermediaries if they break the law. When this was (barely) brought up during the hearing, one response was that the DOJ is either overwhelmed or isn't doing its job -- and by opening up prosecutions to state law enforcement, it would allow more of these kinds of cases to be brought. And while that may be true, that seems like a really weird way to solve the problem. If the true problem is a lack of willingness or resources by the DOJ to take on these cases, then why isn't the discussion and legislation directly targeting that problem? Why isn't there a discussion of allocating more resources, or finding out why the DOJ isn't bringing these cases, and offering legislation or resources to solve whatever may be blocking action.

Instead, it seems like a very strange approach to say the answer to a lack of will or resource is... to make more companies liable.

A profound misunderstanding of CDA 230. This one bothers me quite a bit. If we're talking about amending CDA 230, at least get the facts on CDA 230 right. Unfortunately, many Senators and some of the witnesses did not. There's this incorrect belief that CDA 230 leaves no recourse for victims of sex trafficking. That is not even remotely true. The actual perpetrators of sex trafficking are still very much in violation of the law. And, again, if platforms actually develop illegal content themselves, then CDA 230 protections don't apply.

Finally, so many of the Senators and commentators act as though because of CDA 230, no company does anything to moderate their platforms. This is laughable. Basic public pressure has lead most platforms to moderate their platforms thoroughly -- and that's one of the features of CDA 230, in that it says that any effort to moderate/filter your platform to remove content you don't want to see (even if legal) does not attach any liability. SESTA changes that standard (even as its authors claim it doesn't). Because of the "knowledge" standard, moderating content may now be seen as evidence of "knowing conduct." So this effectively wipes out one of the most important tools that platforms have used to stop their platforms from being used for sex trafficking -- and no one seems to want to acknowledge that.

Unless the supporters of this bill are willing to face up to these basic facts and problems with the bill, their headlong rush into "doing something" seems likely to cause a lot more harm than good.


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 6:25am

    "Notice the problem here: they were admitting that this language is problematic, but seemed to have no interest in understanding why or how to fix it -- instead, demanding that others give them new language, with the implicit threat that if they don't, this language will stay because this is "something."

    This is interesting. If you are backing the bill and it has problematic language then YOU will be responsible for the harms such broad/bad language will cause so YOU are the one responsible to come with better language. If I agree with the general point of the bill but won't vote/back it I MAY suggest changes and I WILL fight against the bill but what I won't be is responsible for harms that come afterwards.

    It's YOUR responsibility to legislate wisely. If nobody can come with better language then don't make it into law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      AUTUMNAL, 22 Sep 2017 @ 7:06am

      Re: hand wringing

      "It's fairly stunning and concerning that those pushing for the bill insist there's no problem with the knowledge language. It's as if they have no idea of the fairly recent litigation history over this very issue. "



      ...not stunning at all -- if one is familiar with history and American government processes.

      Arbitrary, fickle, counterproductive, and often malicious legislation/regulation are the demonstrated standard. This would be obvious to all educated people, but political ideology clouds their vision.

      Constant hand wringing over the the very normal and very predictable dysfunction in Congress is a fool's game.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 7:23am

        Re: Re: hand wringing

        "...not stunning at all -- if one is familiar with history and American government processes."

        Yea, um... this is not TD or its audiences strong point. Facts don't matter, just their feelings.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 7:34am

          Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

          Was there something more you wanted to say or are you only here for the covfefe?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

            yea not a big fan of that assclown either.

            But thanks for projecting... we all needed that one.

            I operate outside of your bullshit political sycophantic fantasies.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

              Oh look, a centrist.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Ninja (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:57am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

                Nah, centrists are capable of coherence.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 11:25am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

                  Being centrist just means that your politics are likely not for sale and that you like to think for yourself instead of being a mindless sheep.

                  It does not mean that you are any more or less coherent than any other political hack. Humans are little bags of shit that think they do not stink.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 11:36am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

                    Being centrist just means that your politics are likely not for sale and that you like to think for yourself instead of being a mindless sheep.

                    And tossing out the trite cliché of “mindless sheep” is totally an example of that, right?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 1:16pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

                  rather looks like a fairly vanilla libertarian view of government

                  seems really annoying to the leftish here

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 1:19pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

                    centrist:

                    Looks more like a kid in the middle of a teeter totter war being run by crazy sugar blasted adolescents.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 9:32am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

              What, exactly, are my "bullshit political sycophantic fantasies"?

              This should be good :)

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 11:13am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

                "you only here for the covfefe?"

                I guess you are not as intelligent as you like to think? The assumption that I am on the other side because I am not on your side is part of a bullshit political sycophantic fantasy.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 1:16pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

                  how is that sycophantic?

                  I agree to the bullshit and the political, but it does not come close to sycophantic and is hardly a fantasy.

                  Now, if you had a sense of humor .....

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:07pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

                  Oh it's Mr only insult he knows is the word sycophant. How droll.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 7:54am

          Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

          You might want to try to look up how to insult people. Here's a sample. You only come here to vomit on the page because you can't fill the emptiness inside with cheap cigars and daytime hookers anymore. And your local liquor store stopped cashing your welfare checks, so you suddenly find yourself being able to write in complete sentences again. Though it does not make your comment any less pointless, stupid, petty, or bereft of actual substance.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:36am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

            It is just a statement of what I believe to be a fact, sorry that it hurts your paper thin ego.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Gwiz (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 10:12am

          Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

          Yea, um... this is not TD or its audiences strong point. Facts don't matter, just their feelings.

           

          Say what? Not sure where you are getting that from.  

          Mike has ALWAYS stated that policy should be based on empirical data. Just look at the multitude of posts concerning copyright laws where he argues that policy should be based on verifiable data as opposed to the MIAA/MPAA's emotional pleas of "Piracy is stealing! We need more enforcement!".  

          Here is an example from 2014:

          Decisions need to be made based on empirical data. As we've discussed in the past, historically, copyright reform discussions have been almost entirely faith-based. This is why the claims of "everyone just wants stuff for free" are so concerning," since the data suggests that's not even close to true. Source  

          He's arguing pretty much the same thing about SESTA. Let's look further than "Human trafficing is bad!" to see what this bill is really about and how it won't actually solve the problem SESTA is trying fix and will create many more other problems instead.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 7:32am

        Re: Re: hand wringing

        Pointing out the obvious and wagging fingers at others as though they were ignorant of same ... is a fun and exciting activity, one that can be shared with your friends and family.

        If that is not exiting enough for you, there is the "Woa is Me" board game where you hold your head in sorrow because there is nothing that can be done.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:52am

          Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

          Humans unfortunately require being reminded of how ignorant, stupid, and NOT special they are or they turn into the same self-righteous whiners that accost this place and large swaths of the intertubes.

          You are just not special, my generation grew up thinking they were special because some dumb fucking teacher thought it would be great for people to have self-esteem. If you have esteem for yourself, then you automatically think less of everyone else by that virtue alone.

          I did not buy into this bullshit garbage. I quickly realized that most of the other sissies are going face plant right into life and get laughed out for being a bunch of self entitled pricks. Now all I hear is how does a high school drop out earn 3 or 4 times more than their college educated asses. whine, Whine, WHINE... that is all I hear. Meanwhile they call me an idiot because I don't think or believe like them.

          This is what the world wants from you.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4PE2hSqVnk

          You are not special, you either in a position to improve yourself or help others or you just are not. There is a lot of luck, who you know, and what you are prepared to do involved. I have found that "what you are prepared to do" is most peoples short comings.

          so yea, constant reminding of how not special you are as a human is necessary.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 9:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

            What an inspiring manifesto, I have seen the light and wish to subscribe to your news letter. My life has been changed and it is all attributed to your most awesome comment.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 11:05am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: hand wringing

            Wow speaking of paper thin egos. Yours could only be measured in nanometers.

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      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:39am

        Re: Re: hand wringing

        Agreed, let's just shut up and watch as they keep doing it without opposition!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous, 22 Sep 2017 @ 6:53am

    I'm beginning to wonder if this language isn't deliberate. It may be dawning on some members of congress that the whole open internet thing is bad for them, politically. And maybe the whole upcoming "destroy Obamacare" vote is part of a smoke screen for something else. Maybe passing SESTA? Or perhaps some other bombshell? Does anyone know when SESTA is due to go to the floor?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 6:56am

    Oh, there's LOTS on phrases to put a hook on. Let's look at "good faith":

    You've quoted this previously: "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..."

    And hold that it protects Techdirt from liability for comments. But "good faith" is required right up front.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 6:56am

      Re: Oh, there's LOTS on phrases to put a hook on. Let's look at "good faith":

      So, say, oh... A site was intent of defaming someone and (implicitly) wanted similar affirming comments so knowingly brought about more defamation: then "good faith" doesn't exist.

      Similarly, say a site's owner responded angrily to a commenter who was well within common law, took no action when that commenter was targeted for ad hom, never answered dozens of complaints except to defend vile ad hom as "a joke": then clearly the site owner is NOT acting in "good faith", so has no protection under CDA 230.

      "Good faith" requires FAIRNESS.

      That's the support in CDA itself for why I say a "platform" must BE impartial, not be openly and secretly partisan, and allow those aligned with it to do as please, while targeting, hindering, and hiding other viewpoints.

      And BTW: over-arching common law and other precedent still applies. Statute is "mere statute", not an absolute.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 7:56am

        Re: Re: Oh, there's LOTS on phrases to put a hook on. Let's look at "good faith":

        People who cite common law are usually SovCits. Or heavily brain damaged by years of sniffing their own farts.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:13am

        Re: Re: Oh, there's LOTS on phrases to put a hook on. Let's look at "good faith":

        Except that your precious heroes in the RIAA have abused "good faith" so often just to shake down videos with a second of sampled music in the background, the term has become meaningless. Hell, you bitched and moaned about people realizing that Happy Birthday's copyright had long expired, and Warner had lied about it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:15am

        Re: Re: Oh, there's LOTS on phrases to put a hook on. Let's look at "good faith":

        Tell me something, Mr. SovCit: How does “common law”—whatever that means—trump federal law, how does ad hominem name-calling without a provable intent to defame rise to the level of violating federal law, and how do you define “fairness” in this case?

        Also: If a platform must be impartial, how should the law treat, say, a white supremacist forum that disallows anti-Klan/pro-Black Lives Matter rhetoric?

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      • icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 9:25am

        Re: Re: Oh, there's LOTS on phrases to put a hook on. Let's look at "good faith":

        Congrats. You've done something impressive: presented the most incredibly wrong legal analysis I've seen this year.

        Good work. Nothing in what you state above matches what the actual law is, says, or means. You have done something truly special. Take a bow.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 9:29am

          Re: Re: Re: Oh, there's LOTS on phrases to put a hook on. Let's look at "good faith":

          Congrats. You've done something impressive: presented the most incredibly wrong legal analysis I've seen this year.

          Well, he is one of those “sovereign citizen” people. They always have…let’s say, a unique take on the law.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 2:43pm

          Almost impressive

          Given some of the cases TD has covered in the last year that is not a low bar, so in a way it's almost impressive how wrong they can be on a consistent basis.

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      • icon
        The Wanderer (profile), 25 Sep 2017 @ 5:59am

        Re: Re: Oh, there's LOTS on phrases to put a hook on. Let's look at "good faith":

        ...I'm... pretty sure statute *supersedes* common law, by definition...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 7:19am

    Remember back when we had to create a brand new country to get rid of stupid laws like that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 7:23am

    If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

    I think you're just plain against requiring ANY burden of responsibility from these alleged "platforms".

    You've also stated that believe "platforms" have practically unlimited "right" to keep any content OFF, and in the quote given by some helpful AC above, CDA 230 includes even if Constitutionally protected.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 7:23am

      Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

      The visible result is two bad trends: increasing illegality in the open, and a crack-down by globalist mega-corps on free speech.

      Now, you may well be right that this is all for show by politicians. So too is any "law". But bad actions require enforcement, taking cases to a jury, and that's less likely if everyone does a Masnick: blind yourself to reality and deny especially corporate responsibility to civil society.

      LIFE requires you to do something, not just stand around and say nothing can be done. -- IF agree with the stated goals, then show how better achieved. -- And don't waffle that everything is okay now, that's inaction again.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:15am

        Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

        Techdirt's been reporting on the RIAA passing on corporate responsibility for years. Which you would have realized, except you've already proudly admitted to never reading the articles, which you think gives you the licence to spout garbage.

        And you're not really one to talk about waffling that everything is okay. That's what you do about copyright law abuses.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:49am

          Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

          >>> Techdirt's been reporting on the RIAA passing on corporate responsibility for years.

          Umm, okay. I'm with Techdirt / you when believe right. I'm for musicians over middle-men, if it helps you understand my position, but you'll need a specific for more...

          >>> Which you would have realized, except you've already proudly admitted to never reading the articles, which you think gives you the licence to spout garbage.

          >>> And you're not really one to talk about waffling that everything is okay. That's what you do about copyright law abuses.

          Strawman. I rarely waffle. I like copyright. It's a RIGHT that's in the US Constitution. Where law is "abused" -- as in Righthaven, say: I'm for literally hanging those lawyers for lying, though still support copyright laws that they used for premise.

          I've stated that don't need to read to know Masnick's slant: it's always the same pro-corporate, here saying corps should not be in least responsible -- unless they don't want to host speech that they don't approve off, then they're empowered to control speech of "natural" persons to any degree. That IS Masnick's position.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

            (Gee I hate browser editors. Thought that last paragraph was in the right place.)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

            I've stated that don't need to read to know Masnick's slant: it's always the same pro-corporate, here saying corps should not be in least responsible -- unless they don't want to host speech that they don't approve off, then they're empowered to control speech of "natural" persons to any degree.

            Two things.

            1. The only “pro-corporate” stance in this article is the one that says “CDA 230 carves out specific protections, SESTA will undermine those protections, and even corporations deserve those protections so long as they do not violate the law”.

            2. “Natural persons”? Oh my word you really are a SovCit. Only those paint-huffing lunatics actually use that phrase and think it means something.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 9:53am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

              Every out_of_the_blue eats the paint chips he deserves...

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 9:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

            No, what you do is complain that Techdirt reports about the abuse. There are years' worth of your rubbish we can refer to. Including articles where Masnick literally criticizes Google, which you ignore.

            Your only consistent perspective is a deep-seated loathing for anyone and anything that disagrees with you, such as fair use. Which is why you can't stand the fact that Techdirt exists, you Shiva Ayyadurai fanboy. Sucks that your boy from Massachusetts got his ass kicked, doesn't it?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            JMT (profile), 23 Sep 2017 @ 2:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

            "I like copyright. It's a RIGHT that's in the US Constitution."

            Why should anyone take you seriously where you spout such egregiously incorrect nonsense as this?

            "I've stated that don't need to read to know Masnick's slant: it's always the same pro-corporate, here saying corps should not be in least responsible."

            Again, when you make claims about Mike's position that are opposite of what's written in the article, you're only going to get laughed at and ridiculed.

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            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 23 Sep 2017 @ 5:45pm

              It's... something, kinda

              Again, when you make claims about Mike's position that are opposite of what's written in the article, you're only going to get laughed at and ridiculed.

              Credit where it's due though, they were at least honest enough to admit that they deliberately attack strawmen by ignoring what's actually written and instead going off of what they assume Mike's position is.

              The momentary glimpse of honesty doesn't even come close to balancing out the dishonesty of repeatedly lying and strawmaning, but it's at least something in the positive category.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:28am

        Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

        If the DOJ lacks the resources to go after sex traffickers and sites like Backpage under current laws, changing the law will not give them more resources. If the law already provides a path for prosecuting Backpage, changing the law will only broaden how many people can be prosecuted for vague, broadly-worded violations of the law. SESTA will not fix any of the issues already present with current enforcement of the law—if anything, it will make enforcement much more contingent on “the need to do something” rather than, say, a site actually aiding and abetting sex traffickers.

        Much like doing something to answer a “wouldn’t if be cool if” question, doing something only for the sake of doing something—or being seen as doing something—does not tend to work out well. SESTA is a case of doing something for the sake of doing something; if it passes into law, the results will not turn out well for anyone.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:42am

          Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

          You could save yourself looking as though didn't read all of my comments IF read all of my comments. Here's what I wrote above:

          *Now, you may well be right that this is all for show by politicians. So too is any "law". But bad actions require enforcement, taking cases to a jury, and that's less likely if everyone does a Masnick: blind yourself to reality and deny especially corporate responsibility to civil society.

          LIFE requires you to do something, not just stand around and say nothing can be done. -- IF agree with the stated goals, then show how better achieved. -- And don't waffle that everything is okay now, that's inaction again.*

          Law isn't to be left up to politicians. It requires YOUR support. All we can hope is that law sets standards from the folk that our civil servants will enforce. -- Do you support Backpage in all? -- I doubt it, but you do clearly believe in attacking people who want SOMETHING done in light of actual crimes done by / on Backpage.

          (PS: "Folk" is not "dog whistle" code implying that I'm a Nazi. Just forestalling what can of expected silly off-topic distractions.)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

            you do clearly believe in attacking people who want SOMETHING done in light of actual crimes done by / on Backpage

            I believe in criticizing laws made for no reason other than “something must be done”, especially when that “something” is “ignore the real issues and make a new law”. Again: If the DOJ needs resources to prosecute sex traffickers and sites like Backpage under current law, making a new law will not fix that issue.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

            Your "civil servants" and attack goons have been enforcing copyright law for years, and they did a thoroughly shitty job of it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Ninja (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

            No, life requires you to not screw a whole lot of people because a few do it wrong. And SESTA is not needed to prosecute the crooks, CDA230 doesn't stop neither users nor the platform themselves from being prosecuted and jailed if they are engaged in criminal activity. I will repeat: seems most people generally agree with the stated goals but CURRENT laws are already enough to reach such goals. I know it's too much for you to understand but maybe from repetition it will get through your thick skull.

            Nobody supports Backpage if they are engaged in criminal activity (and it seems from the developments of their story that they are and they may end up in jail WITHOUT SESTA). A lot of people also doesn't support a bad, broadly, vaguely written law. Opposing SESTA doesn't mean supporting trafficking or something. I know it's very hard for you and it must hurt but you need to understand that simple concept.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Cdaragorn (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 7:39am

      Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

      You didn't read one word of the article, did you?

      So if I read you right, you think the law forces you to let someone force their way into your home and say whatever they want to whether you want to hear it or not. At least that's the best conclusion I can get over your idea what it means when speech is "Constitutionally protected".

      The Constitution prevents the government from restricting speech. It does not and CANNOT be made to prevent individuals from restricting speech within their own spaces. This makes perfect sense and has always been the position of TD.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 7:58am

        Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

        Reading the article would take time out of his busy schedule of building strawman and being wrong about virtually everything.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:35am

        Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

        >>> You didn't read one word of the article, did you?

        It's a miracle I hit on the right topic, isn't it? Sheesh. You are clearly WRONG with this TRITE attack.

        >>> So if I read you right,

        As shown, you don't.

        >>> you think the law forces you to let someone force their way into your home and say whatever they want to whether you want to hear it or not.

        This is not Masnick's nor your home: it's a PUBLIC forum on the internet run by a business that asked the public for permission to exist, and explicitly solicits and facilitates two-way comments with HTML for the purpose. Given Techdirt's stated positions and beliefs, especially for free speech, just by that forms contract it's required to show all comments that are non-commercial and within common law. Further, like a bar, it's required to police the site against egregious blowhards who, say, call others "ignorant motherfucker", especially when that ad hom is made out of the blue and not as part of any exchange.

        >>> At least that's the best conclusion I can get over your idea what it means when speech is "Constitutionally protected".

        You admit severe inability at making your strawman argument work, is all.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:45am

          Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

          it's required to police the site against egregious blowhards who, say, call others "ignorant motherfucker"

          No. No, it is not. Nothing in the law says Techdirt must police the site against ad hominem attacks in the comments, especially ones that are either opinions (“ignorant”) or obvious exaggerations (“motherfucker”). MyNameHere could call me a foul-smelling asshole whose intellect is dwarfed by that of fictional serial killer Jason Voorhees and Techdirt would still have no obligation to delete his comment unless I produced a legal order that says otherwise.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Ninja (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:46am

          Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

          Keep making a fool of yourself. The fact that this is a public forum has nothing to do with what the Constitution says. It forbids the GOVERNMENT from meddling with speech.

          "run by a business that asked the public for permission to exist"

          Golden comedy here! Nobody at TD asks permission to run their business. And the fact that they are there for over 20 years show they are doing it right because people keep rewarding them with eyeballs and money (which, amusingly, includes you).

          "it's required to police the site against egregious blowhards who, say, call others "ignorant motherfucker""

          LOOOL. Nope. You ignorant motherfucker. TD could censor this at their discretion if they wanted. The government can't (remember, Constitution? That thing you fail epically at understanding?).

          "You admit severe inability at making your strawman argument work, is all."

          You don't have to admit. In your case it's glaring, written all over your ignorant ramblings.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 8:52am

          Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

          You make multiple claims that you never bother to read the articles because you instinctively disagree with them on principle.

          If such policing were required MyNameHere would have had his ass and fetish for PaulT/Hamilton fanfiction kicked to the curb.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 10:01am

          Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

          You literally don't understand law, at all, in any form, ever.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 11:11am

          Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

          Godamn you make being wrong an art form. That's a good job I guess. Or rather second job, as we all know your primary job is peofessional drowning victim.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Gwiz (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 11:32am

          Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

          ...just by that forms contract it's required to show all comments that are non-commercial and within common law.

           

          Where do you get this stuff? Just because you filled out a web form to create a comment does not create any sort of legally binding contract between you and Techdirt. That's just plain silly. I might also add, even if it was a binding contract (which it's not), you aren't even using your legal name.

           

          Further, like a bar, it's required to police the site against egregious blowhards who, say, call others "ignorant motherfucker"

           

          Um, bars do not police against people calling other people names. I've been to plenty of places where people have been called dumb motherfuckers and much worse. Bars will ask patrons who are disruptive, unruly, loud and rude (like you are here on Techdirt) to leave and ban them from ever coming back. I'm not sure how your bar analogy supports your point, when it seems support just the opposite.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 2:57pm

            No moderation for me, ALL the moderation for thee

            It's almost funny the various 'arguments' they come up with that boil down to 'TD should be required to show my comments, no matter what the community wants, and people who say mean things about me should have their comments moderated.'

            Besides their hilariously wrong interpretation of the law, the sense of entitlement to use someone else's platform for their speech is stunning.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2017 @ 2:32am

              Re: No moderation for me, ALL the moderation for thee

              When you consider that out_of_the_blue's speech is the kind of speech MyNameHere wants protected, it all makes sense. They want - nay - demand a place to troll their hilariously incorrect balderdash.

              The passing of Hamilton probably left a deep, empty void in their hearts and now they have to endlessly spam the site to get over their personal tragedy.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JMT (profile), 23 Sep 2017 @ 2:40pm

          Re: Re: Re: If clearly specific, you'd argue "ineffective"; if a bit broader, you'd argue "overbroad".

          "This is not Masnick's nor your home: it's a PUBLIC forum on the internet run by a business that asked the public for permission to exist..."

          You cannot possible be stupid enough to actually believe that. Gotta be trolling...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 11:29am

    SESTA will drive companies out of the Untied States and out of reach of United States law.

    Anyone who owns property within 100 miles or so of Silicon Valley might to sell and get out while the gettin's good.

    when SESTA passes and companies are forced to leave the United States to avoid this law, it will make overly inflated property values come crashing down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2017 @ 12:35pm

    If this passes, one site I could see getting a lot of new users is DailyMotion.

    Since DailyMotion is headquarted in Paris, France, they are not subject to American law. DailyMotion, is only subject to French laws, and is not subject to American law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 Sep 2017 @ 2:51pm

    Not surprising

    If someone held their feet to the metaphorical fire and forced them to answer those points it would completely destroy the justifications and defenses they've presented for why the law is needed and why it's not open to abuse.

    Since that would be counter-productive to easy PR apparently no-one was overly interested in doing so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2017 @ 8:13am

    I can no longer tell the trolls from satire....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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