DOJ Tells Congress SESTA/FOSTA Will Make It MORE DIFFICULT To Catch Traffickers; House Votes For It Anyway

from the wtf-guys? dept

As we've been discussing, this afternoon, the House voted both on Rep. Mimi Walters' bad amendment to attach SESTA to FOSTA, and then on the combined bill -- and both sailed through Congress. Somewhat incredibly, this happened even though the Justice Department weighed in with a last minute letter saying that the language in the combined SESTA/FOSTA is so poorly drafted that it would actually make it more difficult to prosecute sex traffickers, and also calling into question whether or not the bill was even Constitutional.

You would think that with the DOJ pointing out these fairly fatal flaws with the bill, that perhaps (just perhaps), the House would delay voting on this. As noted last week, bringing the amendment to the floor without having it go through the House Judiciary Committee (as is supposed to happen), seemed to be the House's way of washing its hands of the bill, and tossing the issue back to the Senate. But rushing through a bill with huge implications is no way to make law. As Rep. Lofgren noted on the floor:

The justice department says in this letter that they believe any revision to define “participation in a venture” is unnecessary and in fact that the new language would impact prosecutions by effectively creating additional elements in fact they say the amendment will make it harder to prosecute…There’s a thing we get told in law school: Bad cases make bad law. One of the ways to avoid that is to have the committee process work through it. That didn’t happen....

And thus, Walters' amendment prevailed 308 to 107 and then the combined (terrible) bill sailed through the whole House 388 to 25. Kudos the to the 25 Representatives who actually understand how CDA 230 works and why this bill is so bad, but it's depressing to think that it was just 25.

In response to this, Senator Ron Wyden has already put out a statement scolding the House for failing to understand what they've just done:

History shows that politicians have been remarkably bad at solving technological problems. I have written laws in the past, including Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and the Internet Tax Freedom Act, that have kept politicians and special interests from sinking the internet.This bill will only prop up the entrenched players who are rapidly losing the public’s trust. The failure to understand the technological side effects of this bill – specifically that it will become harder to expose sex-traffickers, while hamstringing innovation – will be something that this congress will regret.

I take a backseat to no one when it comes to fighting sex trafficking and locking up the monsters who prey on the defenseless. I have authored laws to support victims and provide ongoing funding paid for by those convicted of heinous crimes against children, and authored laws to improve the child welfare system to help prevent children from becoming victims in the first place. However, the bill passed today by the House will make it harder to catch bad actors and protect victims by driving this vile crime to shadowy corners of society that are harder for law enforcement to reach.

This is the perfect encapsulation of a broken Congress. They "did something" for the grandstanding feature alone. Lots of Congressional Representatives will now claim that they "voted to stop sex trafficking" or some such, without bothering to understand or care why this bill actually will harm the victims of sex trafficking, making it more difficult for law enforcement to go after actual traffickers, creating serious incentives for websites not to stop sex traffickers from using their platforms and not to help law enforcement, and (as a side effect) seriously undermining free speech on the internet.

The bill now moves back to the Senate, which has already passed its version of SESTA out of Committee where Wyden put a hold on it. It appears likely that a vote will happen sometime soon on the bill, so now might be a good time to call your Senator and let them know that as good as this bill may sound from its title, its actual impact will be a total disaster.


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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Feb 2018 @ 3:46pm

    Congress making things worse so they can get good soundbites.

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 12:56pm

      Re:

      Members of Congress are smart enough to see Google’s lobbying efforts for what they are.

      Google used to be able to get away with a ton of BS. Not so much anymore.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 3:21pm

        Re: Re:

        This is going to affect the entire internet genius. It's not about Google.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 28 Feb 2018 @ 3:38pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Nonsense, everyone knows Google is the internet, what rock have you been under to have missed that?

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          Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 8:14pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Google is the one financing the lobbying against this, genius.

          And LOL at the original post being censored wtf...

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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Feb 2018 @ 3:56pm

    Going the extra mile

    Things like this make me wonder why there is no mandate to review proposed legislation for Constitutionality, and then drop those that fail the 'smell' test.

    Then I remember, it's Congress we're talking about.

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    • identicon
      Thad, 27 Feb 2018 @ 4:35pm

      Re: Going the extra mile

      Things like this make me wonder why there is no mandate to review proposed legislation for Constitutionality, and then drop those that fail the 'smell' test.

      Are you suggesting the Supreme Court should review all legislation? That's...a little much to put on their plate.

      And while this is a bad law, I'm not sure what's unconstitutional about it. Speech integral to the commission of a crime is already unprotected under the First Amendment. This doesn't affect what speech is or isn't protected; what it does affect is who's liable for illegal speech.

      There are a lot of terrible laws that are still perfectly constitutional.

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      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Feb 2018 @ 4:40pm

        Re: Re: Going the extra mile

        I wasn't thinking of the Supreme Court, but a couple or five lawyers trained in constitutional law, working from a non (as apposed to a bi) partisan office that reviews proposed legislation and language for potential problems, and then reports back to both houses. If Congress passes things that won't pass the 'smell' test, they they are making work for courts anyway, which isn't really in their job descriptions.

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        • identicon
          Thad, 27 Feb 2018 @ 4:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

          Hm -- something like the CBO, but for constitutional law?

          I could get behind that.

          Granted, the CBO isn't always right, but it's generally a good best-guess check on budget matters.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

          > [To review all Bills from Congress] I wasn't thinking of the Supreme Court, but a couple or five lawyers trained in constitutional law,

          Your "solution" just BLITHELY creates an new Un-Constitutional body with veto power over Congress. -- Yet here on Techdirt, it doesn't draw hoots, it's just TOO typical of childish lunacy!

          Then "Thad" picks it up as if reasonable.

          Have either of you ever even read the US Constitution? Taken a civics class? Sat through "How a Bill Becomes Law" lecture in high school?

          Clearly NOT. Probably aren't even Americans.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

            He never said it had power over Congress.

            He said, and I quote, "reviews proposed legislation and language for potential problems, and then reports back to both houses."

            This is nothing new. In fact, hundreds of such committees currently exist. Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, Advisory Committee on the Protection of Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, Library of Congress Trust Fund Board, Migratory Bird Conservation Commission...

            It is no breach of Congress's powers or anything else outlined in the Constitution for them to appoint advisors to officially research and report to them about certain things. And Congress has full control over how they are to pass laws. All the Constitution says is that the actual elected members of the House have to pass the law, and the actual elected members of the Senate have to pass the law, before the President can sign it into federal law. The House and the Senate can each pass whatever rules they like, so long as the rules only affect their own procedures and would not contradict any laws.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

              > This is nothing new. In fact, hundreds of such committees currently exist.

              Exactly my point.

              However, the person clearly thinks it's new and would serve purpose of ensuring "wrong" views were easily suppressed, so IF had actual power and effect, then it's UN-Constitutional, right?

              So I'm right.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:58pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

                Sorry, no. In no way does that make you right. The committee *itself* would be new, just as, at one point, the Migratory Bird Commission was new. There had never been a Migratory Bird Commission before! Nobody had ever reported to Congress on the status of migratory birds!

                But obviously, something being somehow new, does not in any way make it unconstitutional. Otherwise we couldn't have new laws in the first place, even a new President.

                The not-newness I referred to, is merely the idea of a commission outside of Congress that reports back to Congress so that Congress may decide what law they will pass.

                In this case, it would be a commission outside of Congress that reports back to Congress on their view of the Constitutionality of what law they are intending to pass.

                Furthermore, if the House or the Senate wishes to constrain themselves to requiring the commission of such a report on every bill before making a final vote on it, it is not unconstitutional in any way. IANAL, nor do I think it wise to put such broad veto powers into any non-elected position, but I would not even believe it is unconstitutional for them to *require* a successful report before the final vote to pass can be held.

                The bill still has to be passed by the House or the Senate in the first place. That's the only part the Constitution cares about. What steps they take in order to get there, the Constitution couldn't say or care less.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:09pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

                  > Sorry, no. In no way does that make you right. The committee *itself* would be new

                  Okay, I'm not even sure why you're arguing a hypothetical sitch that wouldn't have NEW powers, and then going on at length about how it could be done, IS being done, and MORE "advisory" committees should be set up...

                  Because MORE of the same surely won't help!

                  Anyhoo, IF I'm wrong in taking the original comment as blithely proposing NEW REVIEW of passed bills with VETO power, then I'm wrong.

                  But still sure looks like creating a new UN-Constitutional VETO! Else why bother?

                  I guess you can go on arguing, but it's definitely HYPOTHETICAL, so I'm not going to invest more time. OKAY?

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:16pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

                    I guess it doesn't matter that Congress gets experts to testify before them on certain matters.

                    You're right, committees are useless. They should just pass every bill without doing any research on what it actually does, or even reading the bill, or even reading the Constitution to know what they can or can't do.

                    There's no way there could possibly be people who have better insight on any subject than Congress. They know everything already, and would in no way change their mind when presented with an expert opinion.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:38pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

                    Why are you incapable of reading words?

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          • icon
            Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:38pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

            What an ass.

            A report is not a veto, asshole, it's a report. Congress then gets to do whatever they want with the report (as with CBO reports), but they then may or may not know that their piece of legislation may or may not pass Constitutional muster, but may have a better idea of whether it will or won't.

            What an ass.

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:49pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

              > may have a better idea of whether it will or won't.

              Yeah, you do know that Congress is STUFFED with lawyers, right?

              And if have actually VOTED on a Bill, then they surely have taken a position?

              So what point would there be UNLESS this newly created "Review" has power to effectivly stop it by pronouncing "won't pass muster"?

              See, I'm RIGHT in taking it as proposes UN-Constitutional new VETO.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:07pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

                Congress is full of lawyers... who have various backgrounds in various areas. I don't expect my divorce lawyer to know copyright law, nor do I expect an environmental lawyer to be knowledgeable about criminal law.

                The point would be, of course, to inform the House or Senate *before the final vote.* The same way that any other commission, committee, or board already does.

                And, yet again, I believe there is nothing unconstitutional about a new veto if it applies only to the governmental agency which passed that rule or law in the first place. The House could not pass a new veto on the Senate, but they can pass a new veto on themselves with no problem.

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

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:12pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

                  > I believe there is nothing unconstitutional about a new veto

                  Oh, wait a sec! I just conceded defeat, but here you are saying the new review can be a VETO!

                  Whew. Evidently the notion strikes your fancy.

                  So, you want Congress to abdicate powers to committee of a few lawyers which will have VETO POWER over all bills...

                  Okay, at least got you clear, now. -- It's NOT going to happen, so argue on all you want, purple snowflake.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:19pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

                    You didn't concede defeat, you said it's "just a hypothetical and so it doesn't matter that I can't show you any actual reason I'm right and you're wrong" and stormed off to... the next comment down the line.

                    I never contradicted myself, either.

                    The original commenter did not propose a veto, he proposed a committee.

                    But a veto such as YOU proposed would still likely not be unconstitutional.

                    For someone who complained about people not going to school and taking law courses, I must admit, I am rather disappointed in your liberal application of logical fallacies here.

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

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                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 10:14am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

                      "For someone who complained about people not going to school and taking law courses,"

                      Specious... met plenty of educated retards.

                      People may have "attempted education", but it does not mean that they have "become educated".

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 7:31pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

                    You sound triggered.

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              • icon
                orbitalinsertion (profile), 27 Feb 2018 @ 7:03pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

                It doesn't make sense to you (evidence-based reviews for lawmakers), therefore you impute a proposed veto power into the suggestion.

                I do believe i have just had a bit of an epiphany about the mode of thinking of a sizable chunk of humanity. Thanks.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:41pm

        Re: Re: Going the extra mile

        The part that the DOJ has pointed out as unconstitutional is, specifically, the ex-post-facto part, not any part to do with the first amendment.

        The law states that the websites are to be held responsible for content regardless of when it was received, stored, or transmitted. Thus, it establishes a new penalty for an act that was legal when it was committed, and thus it is unconstitutional.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:53pm

          Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

          > The law states that the websites are to be held responsible for content regardless of when it was received, stored, or transmitted. Thus, it establishes a new penalty for an act that was legal when it was committed, and thus it is unconstitutional.

          I don't agree with that view. Illegal content / advertisement is illegal NOW; this is just a matter of making web sites responsible for ongoing or future content.

          In any case, I highly doubt that prosecutors will be digging through the entire interwebs for last 20 years, so there will be no problem in practice.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

            > In any case, I highly doubt that prosecutors will be digging through the entire interwebs for last 20 years, so there will be no problem in practice.

            That's not what the law means.

            The law means that, if it was recieved, stored, or transmitted at any point, it is illegal now.

            Even if that Facebook comment advertising prostitution was deleted years ago, after the case had already been closed and the perpetrator was in jail, not only is Facebook on the hook now, but so is every ISP who ever broadcast that comment, because they took no action against it.

            Additionally, it's not the fact that an act is illegal now -- it's the creation (or intensification) of a penalty for the act that did not exist before. In this case, that penalty is against the website or ISP, which had no penalty before. When that website or ISP received that comment, it was not liable for it, and so it likely didn't even know it existed.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 7:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Going the extra mile

            I highly doubt that prosecutors will be digging through the entire interwebs for last 20 years

            But that's what you've been asking Google and YouTube to do, you fucking nimrod.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 6:06am

      Re: Going the extra mile

      Makes me wonder why there is no mandate that congress read the bill before signing it.

      I used to wonder why they did not write the bill(s) themselves.

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      • icon
        discordian_eris (profile), 3 Mar 2018 @ 4:46am

        Re: Re: Going the extra mile

        Because they are not paid to read bills or to write them. They are only there to vote the way they are paid to. Let's be honest here, and it doesn't matter what party you are in, your only real jobs are to fundraise for half of your working day, and then go vote the way your donors (owners) tell you to.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 4:07pm

    Broken Congress

    From the DoJ letter, on p.2—

    CONSTITUTIONAL CONCERN

     . . . The Department objects to this provision because it is unconstitutional. . . .

    “This is the perfect encapsulation of a broken Congress.”

    I watched and listened to some of the debate on C-SPAN this morning. Representative Lofgren brought the ex post facto concern to Congress' attention on the floor of the House. But it apparently didn't bother them.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 4:16pm

    Well, we now have the list of 388 members of the house that support trafficking

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    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 1 Mar 2018 @ 5:06am

      Re:

      It makes me wonder how many of them don't just support it, but engage in it. After all, if passing SESTA/FOSTA makes it harder to catch traffickers, then traffickers would have a vested interest in passing them!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 4:19pm

    Congress?

    seems to be a strong distrust of American democracy & representative government here

    ...you guys all voted...right? -- and you firmly respect majority rule, no matter who wins elections ?

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    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Feb 2018 @ 4:33pm

      Re: Congress?

      "seems to be a strong distrust of American democracy & representative government here"

      I would say there is more of a distrust of the soft money problem in the election process.

      But, then you know that and post your diatribes anyway.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 4:41pm

      Re: Congress?

      respect?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:28pm

      Re: Congress?

      The system is too corrupt for merely voting to be good enough. Both sides' candidates are often terrible, in every elected seat, but they have too much support from the rich, powerful, and influential.

      Sanders was popular with the people. But his policies would be bad for business. So companies gave money to Clinton and those who would support Clinton in the primaries.

      Trump had business ties. Cruz was selfish. Rubio wanted to change things up. Trump was good for business. All the money went to him.

      As far as independents went, the Green Party had merely an activist who opposed everything, and the Libertarian party had a spacecase. Even those who would rather vote for one of them felt that a vote for the Libertarians was wasted in the face of the many extreme supporters of either side.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 6:10am

        Re: Re: Congress?

        "his policies would be bad for business."

        Interesting conclusion, not sure it is shared by those who would know, any references?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 7:09am

          Re: Re: Re: Congress?

          Sanders' policies were to raise taxes on the rich by large amounts and switch more government spending to social services instead of corporate contracts.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 8:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Congress?

            ... and that would be bad for business how?

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            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Mar 2018 @ 5:32am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Congress?

              I'm still waiting for those rich people (who, weeping with gratitude for the fat tax breaks they've received) to donate more lavishly to charities and to set up more businesses with all that extra cash.

              I'll be waiting for a while, won't I?

              They're not gods and we shouldn't treat them as if they are. Nobody should be allowed to acquire so much that they can effectively own us.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2018 @ 4:01pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Congress?

                The policy suggestions made by Mr Sanders are certainly better than those tweeted by Trump recently.

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      • identicon
        John Thacker, 28 Feb 2018 @ 7:10am

        Re: Re: Congress?

        You're wrong about "all the money" going to Trump. Trump had much, much less campaign contributions than Jeb Bush (or Rubio) in the primaries, and less money than Clinton. He even had less money than Cruz in the primaries (thanks to the Mercers, who have switched to being big Trump backers.) You can check with Open Secrets, the FEC, the Sunlight Foundation, they'll all agree on that.

        I despise Trump, but he didn't win because of money and companies, and he didn't win because of the "rich, powerful, and influential." He won the primary because he appealed to people with whom I utterly disagree on trade and immigration in a way that other politicians don't.

        If money, especially corporate and big donor money, won primaries and elections absolutely, then Jeb Bush would have won the Republican nomination, and Clinton would have beat Trump.

        Misdiagnosing the problem is an enormous mistake, because it causes you to recommend bad solutions. In fact, campaign finance reform probably makes it easier for celebrity candidates like Trump who are already famous and don't need advertising to introduce themselves to the public.

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        • identicon
          Thad, 28 Feb 2018 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re: Congress?

          But Trump did receive a lot of money: he received billions in free advertising from news media who treated his campaign as an entertainment spectacle.

          To try and extract some kind of pattern or trend based on Trump is a mistake. Trump is unique. What happened in 2016 is not representative of other celebrity campaigns -- if it were, we would have elected Fred Thompson in 2008.

          That Trump received the nomination despite not being a favorite of the donor class does not mean that campaign finance is not a major issue. It means that donors' power is not absolute; it doesn't mean that their power is insignificant.

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          • identicon
            John Thacker, 1 Mar 2018 @ 7:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Congress?

            Exactly, he did receive billions in free advertising from news media who treated his campaign as an entertainment spectacle. Are you planning on instituting news censorship as part of campaign finance reform? I don't think anyone is, so it's pretty clear that campaign finance reform wouldn't limit his strategy.

            If campaign finance reform makes people liked by the donor class less likely to win the nomination and the election but has no effect on celebrities, then it <i>must</i> make people like Trump more likely to win the election. Celebrities might not get all the benefits from it, but they'll certainly get some, and I would argue a lot.

            Similarly, for people pushing on gun control, it's a tremendous mistake to focus on donations. Money coming from pro-gun donors is extremely minor compared to other issues; it's single issue voters driving it. In addition, it's not like the big money corporations like SESTA (they could live with FOSTA); again, that's driven by popular (but mistaken) revulsion at trafficking and a desire to "do something."

            There are some issues that donors rank highly and where they have a big influence. However, it's not every issue (and on many issues different corporations push in different directions, like with steel and aluminum tariffs) and it's equally possible that by pushing campaign finance reform you'll get worse policy on other issues, issues you might consider more important.

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  • identicon
    John Thacker, 27 Feb 2018 @ 4:30pm

    I like your definition

    But most of the time when people talk about a "broken Congress," they are complaining that Congress isn't passing enough laws (and don't really care about the details.) This is utter nonsense of a bill, a total disaster, but presumably it will make the sort of people who love bipartisanship for bipartisanship's sake jappy.

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  • icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:15pm

    Bad cases don't make bad law. Bad legislators do.

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

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:40pm

    Passed "388 to 25"! -- You are with the SIX PERCENT, then. I think that's a good measure of how popular your unlimited corporatism, society-wrecking, notions actually are outside of this tiny little "blog".

    And so ALL the argument that you have left is to predict DOOM, DOOM!

    It's likely DOOM that affects only you and other corporatists, and that'd be GOOD for society.

    I hope that requires "platforms" to spend some money "policing" sites so that open drug-dealing and sex-trafficking doesn't take place.

    I doubt there's ANY downside for anyone except the corporations and sex-traffickers that Masnick defends.

    Masnick has good solid record: whatever he predicts is the least likely outcome, so the future will probably be wonderful!

    Oh, and "last minute" letter from DOJ: they've only had MONTHS, so that was just a CHEAP DESPERATE ploy.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:49pm

      Re: Passed "388 to 25"! -- You are with the SIX PERCENT, then. I think that's a good measure of how popular your unlimited corporatism, society-wrecking, notions actually are outside of this tiny little "blog".

      Due to the passing of FOPTA, we regret to inform you that we are currently unable to accept any user comments without strict human verification of your comment. Otherwise, every employee of (insert corporation here: TechDirt|Facebook|Twitter|YouTube|Snapchat|Charter|Comcast|AT&T) who potentially has access to your comment may be jailed for 10 years and fined $10,000. Therefore, we shall now be blocking all comments by default until they are approved by two human members of our moderation team.

      Current comments waiting for approval: 5,123,592. We estimate your comment will be posted in 42 days and 36 hours.

      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, 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:58pm

        Re: Re: Passed "388 to 25"! -- You are with the SIX PERCENT, then. I think that's a good measure of how popular your unlimited corporatism, society-wrecking, notions actually are outside of this tiny little "blog".

        > Due to the passing of FOPTA, we regret to inform you that we are currently unable to accept any user comments without strict human verification of your comment. Otherwise, every employee of (insert corporation here:

        GOOD! So long as applies to EVERYONE, not just ME.

        There are definitely too many idiots making up fantasies of what is yet to happen (cough, cough), and too many idiots with nasty one-liners (see almost any web-site comments section), so IF those are reduced, I'd be pleased and so would society when eventually notice.

        However, that's not going to be the effect of this bill, darn it. Just fairly narrowly targets blatant advertising of possibly forced services. And yet you seem to be against it.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: Passed &quot;388 to 25&quot;! -- You are with the SIX PERCENT, then. I think that's a good measure of how popular your unlimited corporatism, society-wrecking, notions actually are outside of this tiny little &quot;blog&quot;.

          Blocked and Reported.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:26pm

          Re: Re: Re: Passed "388 to 25"! -- You are with the SIX PERCENT, then. I think that's a good measure of how popular your unlimited corporatism, society-wrecking, notions actually are outside of this tiny little "blog".

          It is going to be the effect of this bill the same way that COPPA resulted in most websites forbidding 13-year-olds from using them.

          Because when an entity is presented with the option of "you can no longer provide X content or you'll get fined and sued", that entity now has to make absolutely sure it is not providing X content.

          What's the easiest way to make sure it is not providing X content?

          In COPPA's case, it was easier to forbid children from accessing the internet at all than it was to remove any requirements for age or email address, or to weed through specific ads to see if they are unhealthy for children.

          In this case, it is easier to block all user-based content and force it to be reviewed, than it is to simply make good guesses based on algorithms and user reports.

          Or, alternatively, they can hope the courts will interpret the law as "we were not alerted about this content so we did not remove it". Therefore, either every comment that is reported is immediately removed for review (allowing for mass silencing of anyone you don't like), or all reports and review *entirely* are removed, thus removing the application of Section 230 at all. Facebook will never remove any content so that they don't have to review all billions of posts and videos and comments for potentially prostitutional material.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 11:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Passed "388 to 25"! -- You are with the SIX PERCENT, then. I think that's a good measure of how popular your unlimited corporatism, society-wrecking, notions actually are outside of this tiny little "blog".

            It very unlikely anyone would want all user-based content blocked and force it to be reviewed.

            Unlikely they will remove the application of Section 230 at all.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 11:57pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Passed "388 to 25"! -- You are with the SIX PERCENT, then. I think that's a good measure of how popular your unlimited corporatism, society-wrecking, notions actually are outside of this tiny little "blog".

              What, all politicians are very happy with the idea that all content should be previewed and filtered, as is the MPAA and RIAA.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 3:34am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Passed "388 to 25"! -- You are with the SIX PERCENT, then. I think that's a good measure of how popular your unlimited corporatism, society-wrecking, notions actually are outside of this tiny little "blog".

                But its unlikely to happen anytime soon.

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

            • icon
              discordian_eris (profile), 3 Mar 2018 @ 4:51am

              Re: Re:

              We're talking about ideologues and fanatics here. Always assume they have the worst for everyone in mind.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 6:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Passed "388 to 25"! -- You are with the SIX PERCENT, then. I think that's a good measure of how popular your unlimited corporatism, society-wrecking, notions actually are outside of this tiny little "blog".

            Or, alternatively, they can hope the courts will interpret the law as "we were not alerted about this content so we did not remove it".

            But just how many lawsuits, and how much will it get companies to get that accepted, given aggressive attorney generals, and the MPAA/RIAA all prepared to use the courts in an attempt to drive companies they dislike into bankruptcy.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 7:34pm

          Suck it blue.

          You never met a fascist cock you didn’t immediately try to deep throat.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:39pm

      Re: Passed "388 to 25"! -- You are with the SIX PERCENT, then. I think that's a good measure of how popular your unlimited corporatism, society-wrecking, notions actually are outside of this tiny little "blog".

      Donald, putting "quotes" around things doesn't do what you think.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:01pm

    "DOJ Tells Congress SESTA/FOSTA Will Make It MORE DIFFICULT To Catch Traffickers"

    ... and some members then breathed a sigh of relief as they voted for SESTA/FOSTA

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 5:13am

      Re:

      Haha, ain't that the truth. I bet they're feeling pretty safe about buying their next ticket to Epstein's island right now while the cops are going to be busy chasing ghosts for a while.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:32pm

    When even the DOJ, who will ignore all manner of warrants and protocol to nab a fatass in New Zealand, tells you that you're absolutely wrong and you do the thing they tell you not to anyway...

    Damn, how head-up-your-ass stupid do you have to be?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 11:12pm

    Retaliation?

    I wonder if it is specifically Silicon Valley retaliation. This administration has made no bones about the fact they are going to punish their enemies and reward their friends to hell with things like 'constitutionality' or 'actually being good for their stated goal'.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 2:26am

    Understanding

    "...scolding the House for failing to understand what they've just done..."

    They understand what they've done...NOT voted AGAINST FIGHTING sex trafficking. Of course they're largely ignorant boobs, but far more so are their constituents. Neither group grasps arguments more nuanced than whether you're FOR or AGAINST sex trafficking. No Congressman is going to risk the appearance of being of the wrong side of that question.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 7:11am

      Re: Understanding

      Just because you slap a label that says "M&Ms" on a pickle jar doesn't make it candy.

      It's merely called an anti-sex-trafficking bill. It is not an effective, or constitutional, anti-sex-trafficking bill.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 2:01pm

        Re: Re: Understanding

        "Just because you slap a label that says 'M&Ms' on a pickle jar doesn't make it candy."

        For all public and political intents and purposes the label DOES make the contents candy as long as the jar remains unopened. Neither Congress nor the majority of it constituents are going to test the label by opening the jar.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2018 @ 4:06pm

          Re: Re: Re: Understanding

          So, you are saying that congress does not read the bill, DOJ does not enforce the bill and corporations just do whatever they want because of the bill. Sounds familiar.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 5:09am

    For as great an idea as democracy is, this is one of its failings, in that a whole group of elected representatives can vote like a bunch of idiots because... feelings.

    Two things I can think of to fix this political process. Both would be impossible because the first idea would involve too much change, and the second idea would involve placing unrealistic expectations on politicians, but here we go:

    The first of my ideas would be to have the scientific method adapted into the democratic process. Allow facts to serve in place of human votes and have a panel of judges weigh each point before coming to a decision.

    The second idea I thought of would be to force congresspeople to actually read what they're voting on and then quiz them to make sure they've fully read and understood the material. You know, like doing a book report in school, throw a few questions in there that make sure they've been paying attention. The test wouldn't determine what their opinion is, it will merely test that they were doing their job and reading the law they're about to vote on, rather getting the summary from their advisors while they bang interns and snort coke. If they pass the test, they get to vote.

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 1 Mar 2018 @ 5:35am

      Re:

      OR... mad idea... teach critical thinking in our schools to encourage kids to be logical.

      Also... even crazier idea... promote logical thinking based on empiricism and a culture in which nerds are held in the greatest of awe. We are going to have to do this one person at a time but like a virus this idea could spread until the majority of people are... less flippin' stupid at the very least. I'm personally working on this by debating with people online in the hope of influencing them. Sometimes it works.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2018 @ 4:08pm

        Re: Re:

        Students are too busy being terrified of attending school, perhaps that is the goal of our esteemed Dept of Education.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 5:17am

    I'd like to know why the United States even has a constitution if no laws are tested against it before being passed.

    Seems like a do-nothing, feel-good waste of paper to me.

    But hey, I guess to be a nation in the eyes of the U.N., you only need to *have* a constitution as a symbol, not actually *enforce* it like it matters.

    Bare minimum requirements: Satisfied.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 6:14am

      Re:

      Laws are for the minions

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 28 Feb 2018 @ 11:38am

      Re:

      Laws can be challenged and overturned after they are passed. Why do you find that a useless provision?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 12:23pm

        Re: Re:

        Please don't misunderstand. What I'm confused about is why are laws not challenged constitutionally, first and foremost, before they're just hastily voted on by congress.

        I am not an American citizen, so the subtle details are a little unclear to me, but isn't the constitution supposed to be the highest law that you have, above all else? If this is true, then you must understand my confusion when I so often see it being violated in your lower levels of legislature and by your police departments.

        Even if those bad laws are overturned, and they often are, my question is how did they become law in the first place? To me that shows the constitution is not doing its job to defend U.S. citizens.

        There could be a better system. Perhaps sort of an impartial body, like a court of judges versed in constitutional law, who can review legislative drafts prior to a congressional vote. These judges could then either approve the legislature for voting, or reject it along with a statement clearly explaining what details in particular are incompatible with the constitution, and which amendments they are violating.

        A system of checks and balances like this could both preserve constitutional rights for everyone, while allowing good, well-thought legislature that is compatible with the constitution to be voted on by congress in a democratic fashion.

        But hey, like I said, I'm not one of you guys so I don't know if this would work at all. Where I'm coming from, I like the idea of America. I like it on paper. I'd just like to see it executed a bit more properly, I guess.

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

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 28 Feb 2018 @ 2:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          What I'm confused about is why are laws not challenged constitutionally, first and foremost, before they're just hastily voted on by congress.

          Because that isn't how the US Constitution is written. If you're asking why it wasn't written that way, I don't know.

          If this is true, then you must understand my confusion when I so often see it being violated in your lower levels of legislature and by your police departments.

          We're confused about that too.

          There could be a better system.

          That's for sure.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 5:39am

    even more evidence of the sort of stupid, self-serving idiots we voted into these high, political positions! perhaps we'll learn a bit and actually come to our senses and vote the fucking morons out next chance we get, making sure that whoever gets the vote knows the same will happen to them if they end up being just as stupid and ignorant!!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 6:16am

      Re:

      "we voted into these high, political positions"

      afaik, there remains some question as to whether that really did happen.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 28 Feb 2018 @ 5:53am

    I'll leave this here to the moment it is needed:

    "Let the collateral damage begin!"

    Let's hope that if it pass it's enforced in the most draconian way possible biting them hard in the arse.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 4:14pm

      Re:

      Unfortunately it will bite the little people who are using the Internet to scrape a living the hardest, as the cannot pay the campaign contributions needed to have a voice in Washington.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 11:06am

    You can partially thank FaceGoog lobbyists for this disaster.

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

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 28 Feb 2018 @ 3:14pm

    Unfortunately my senators are Blumenthal and Murphy who, I seem to recall, love this bill. :(

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 28 Feb 2018 @ 3:47pm

    Well...

    You would think that with the DOJ pointing out these fairly fatal flaws with the bill, that perhaps (just perhaps), the House would delay voting on this.

    If you assumed that the purpose was to protect non-politicians, then yes, the DOJ(among others) chiming in to point out that the bill stands to make things worse for current and future victims would be enough to cause a pause for review, if not scrapping the bill entirely.

    However, it's been pretty clear from the get-go(at least to me), that this has always been a cheap, if highly dangerous and damaging PR stunt.

    It was never about the victims, it was always about the soundbites.

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


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