White House Potentially Exploring Executive Order On 'Social Media Bias'

from the the-first-amendment-would-like-a-word dept

The White House may be preparing an executive order for the President, pushing for investigations of "bias" at social media companies. It is not definite, but someone has leaked us a draft two page executive order. We're not releasing the draft because, despite it coming directly from someone in the White House, others have insisted it's not an accurate document, even as the approach to some extent mirrors the announced plans of the DOJ to investigate bias. Another reason we're not releasing the document itself is that we're quite aware of reports saying that there are attempts to find "leakers" in the White House, and one common method of doing so is to put small indicators in documents. We cannot guarantee that this document is not such a document and thus will be reporting on the basic concept of what's in this draft, without revealing the full document.

But, to be clear, if this document is accurate, it would almost certainly lead to a huge First Amendment fight, which it seems likely the companies would win.

Obviously the issue of social media and supposed political bias has been a big topic in DC lately -- including with the President -- despite the near total lack of actual evidence to support these claims. Yes, there is evidence of people being kicked off these platforms... but there is no evidence that the reasons have anything to do with political bias (people of all political stripes have been removed from these platforms). And, yes, there is also evidence that employees at many internet companies may lean one way politically, but that too is overstated and says nothing about how the platforms actually work.

Recently, we noted that the DOJ and various state Attorneys General were talking about using antitrust law against social media companies over bias, and explained in fairly great detail why that would almost certainly run afoul of the First Amendment and a whole long list of Supreme Court cases detailing how the government cannot compel speech of this nature.

And that's where this executive order, as leaked, would almost certainly run into huge First Amendment issues. It tries to hide these behind antitrust claims, saying that it's about ensuring competition and preventing the exercise of market power that "harms consumers, including through the exercise of bias." The Executive Order itself doesn't hide the intent, as "bias in online platforms" is specifically in the title. Basically, the order would task the White House with "investigating" social media platforms for bias and then seek to use antitrust actions (or pass it off to the DOJ or FTC) to punish companies that show loosely defined "bias." The document takes as default that any kind of "bias" on major internet platforms should be taken as anti-competitive (which seems incredibly questionable) and then also requires that various agencies give the President a report on how to "address" social media bias.

I have trouble seeing how this could possibly be constitutional under the First Amendment, as it is, quite explicitly, the government trying to regulate speech, and clearly does not fall into any of the exceptions to the First Amendment. It's possible this executive order will never actually become anything -- perhaps someone in the White House will prevent it from moving forward (it's also clear that the draft I've seen is not complete, as there are still notes about what's being worked on). But the fact that this is even being considered is certainly notable.

I asked Ken White, well known around here as a former Assistant US Attorney and current First Amendment lawyer what he thought of the draft and he noted that the document seemed so weakly put together that he had a hard time believing it was something anyone was seriously considering, though, he noted "with this administration it's very difficult to tell." He also noted that it appeared to be "more posturing than substance" and designed to "preach to the choir" rather than anything serious. As for the substance, he noted that while it asserts that "bias" is a violation of antitrust law, that's not at all accurate:

That’s a distortion and exaggeration. Nothing in the document elaborates or supports it. To the extent antitrust is concerned with bias it’s not the "kick the Nazis off the platform" kind. It's more like a concern about, for instance, Google altering search results to prefer products and services it owns.

Indeed, the general point of antitrust is to deal with when a dominant player is abusing its position to favor its own offerings, not on how it handles general moderation duties. So, while I wouldn't put it past this administration to mock up this kind of executive order as an exercise in thinking through what it can "do" about the exaggerated and misleading claims of "political bias" in search results, I have a hard time believing the administration would bother pushing forward with this idea, and if it actually did get that far that it would have any luck in convincing anyone (who matters) that this was constitutional. That said, if the point is just, as Ken suggested, preaching to the choir, I also wouldn't put it past this administration to push out this executive order just to rile up Trump's most ardent supporters, who continue to scream to the heavens about political bias in search results, despite a near total lack of evidence to support such claims.


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  • icon
    Gary (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:01am

    Shocked

    I thought any sort of anti-trust action was against current policy?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 1:13pm

      Re: Shocked

      Nonsense. Trump has always be against corporate monopolies, including such monopolies as Google.

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

      • identicon
        Baron von Robber, 14 Sep 2018 @ 1:22pm

        Re: Re: Shocked

        What is Google a monopoly (the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.) of?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 1:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: Shocked

          Agree, google has no monopoly, though I would say that they might be guilty of anti-trust.

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          • identicon
            Baron von Robber, 14 Sep 2018 @ 1:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

            How so?

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

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 4:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

            Google has destroyed the innocence of the internet and censored everything, blocking sites and just been a real fucknut of a dickheaded corporation spying on the world..

            Mike you are going to have to get over your love relationship for this company.

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

            • icon
              Mike Masnick (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 5:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

              Google has destroyed the innocence of the internet and censored everything

              Everything? Really?

              blocking sites and just been a real fucknut of a dickheaded corporation spying on the world..

              What sites has it "blocked"? It may be a fucknut and a dickheaded corporation -- and that seems like good reasons not to use its services. But, bringing this back on topic, can you explain how that makes it so the White House can ignore the 1st Amendment?

              Thanks.

              Mike you are going to have to get over your love relationship for this company.

              I don't have a "love" relationship with the company. I worry that it is too big and too powerful, and I have regularly criticized its practices. But I also don't make shit up about how the White House can magically go after it for search bias.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 6:17pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                The First Amendment

                Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

                Please note the FIRST word - Congress.

                The word GOOGLE does not appear anywhere in the first amendment nor is there any other wordage in the First Amendment that limits Google's authority to limit or enhance speech in any way Google may desire.

                Translation: Google may at Google's discretion remove ALL conservative thought allowing only far left thought and the First Amendment will not be violated as the First Amendment ONLY applies to laws made by congress.

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

                • icon
                  Ryunosuke (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 7:47pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                  I am glad you can read, however, you did not read the full document, as the 14th amendment states:

                  ...No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

                  and as I noted in my previous post, at least as far back to Lincoln, SCOTUS has found that EO's are subject to the Constitution as well.

                  The second problem of your argument is that you are conflating the 1st amendment to a PRIVATE corporation. The 1st amendment applies to GOVERNMENT censorship of citizens, not private companies. There is nothing stopping you from making a conservative biased search engine.

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                • identicon
                  John Smith, 15 Sep 2018 @ 8:00pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                  Just like the privately owned phone company and Postal Service can choose not to allow communication over its medium, right?

                  That old "state actor" b.s. has no legal weight.

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                  • icon
                    Ryunosuke (profile), 16 Sep 2018 @ 9:44am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                    the thing is, both of those are common carriers under title II iirc.

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                  • identicon
                    Sam Andreas, 16 Sep 2018 @ 11:29am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                    Just like neither the phone company nor the postal service are the Internet or a platform.

                    Your snake oil is weak sauce.

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                  • icon
                    Tanner Andrews (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 12:49am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                    privately owned phone company and Postal Service can choose not to allow communication over its medium

                    Not quite. While the postal service is a creature of Congress, it generally acts as a common carrier. The phone company, railroad, and such like are actual common carriers.

                    In return for certain privileges which may give them effective monopolies, they agree to carry all traffic presented, subject to capacity, at published rates. They cannot turn away farmer Smith's phone calls, or his corn, because they do not like his views.

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                • identicon
                  Wendy Cockcroft, 17 Sep 2018 @ 6:08am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                  Translation: Google may at Google's discretion remove ALL conservative thought allowing only far left thought and the First Amendment will not be violated as the First Amendment ONLY applies to laws made by congress.

                  Have we decided what "conservative" and "far left" mean yet? I keep seeing those terms being massively abused.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 10:01am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                  "Translation: Google may at Google's discretion remove ALL conservative thought allowing only far left thought and the First Amendment will not be violated as the First Amendment ONLY applies to laws made by congress."


                  Wrong. Maybe you should try Google translate.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 7:19pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                Tell me why a corporation should think they have 1st amendment rights like citizens.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 9:26pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                  Because citizens run those corporations and the speech of corporations is dictated by the citizens that own the corporations. Therefore if you restrict what a corporation can say, you are restricting the First Amendment rights of the citizens who own and control the corporations.

                  This isn't hard.

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

                • icon
                  Mike Masnick (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:02pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                  Tell me why a corporation should think they have 1st amendment rights like citizens.

                  Perhaps because the Supreme Court has said so going back to Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific 130 years ago. So, really, they have more than half of this country's existence in which it shouldn't surprise anyone that companies have Constitutional rights, because it's about as settled as settled law should be. So, why should they think it? Because the Supreme Court has said that the Constitution applies to corporate entities for almost a century and a half now. The bigger question is what kind of person thinks that's NOT settled law, and why they should magically think that everyone will live in their fantasy world, rather than the actual one.

                  But if you're asking why companies should have First Amendment rights, well, because without that, pretty much any news publication would get sued into oblivion any time they took on powerful interests, such as billionaires and politicians. Giving media organizations 1st amendment rights has been hugely important in guaranteeing a free press.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 12:14am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                    But isn't the summary of Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific different than the text of the case?

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 9:18am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                    But if you're asking why companies should have First Amendment rights, well, because without that, pretty much any news publication would get sued into oblivion any time they took on powerful interests, such as billionaires and politicians.

                    You've said that before, and it's not true. They don't need First Amendment rights to do that, some shield like CDA section 230 could be sufficient.

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

                    • icon
                      nasch (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 9:31am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                      You've said that before, and it's not true. They don't need First Amendment rights to do that, some shield like CDA section 230 could be sufficient.

                      CDA section 230 shields providers from liability for the speech of others. It does nothing to protect a newspaper when publishing a story or op-ed themselves.

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

                    • icon
                      Mike Masnick (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 10:09pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                      You've said that before, and it's not true. They don't need First Amendment rights to do that, some shield like CDA section 230 could be sufficient.

                      Uh, no. As nasch already explained, 230 safe harbors are merely about pointing liability at the right party and only applies to platforms such that they are not blamed for content created by others. It is meaningless in the context of media for their own reporting. My original statement stands.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2018 @ 2:29pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                    Perhaps because the Supreme Court has said so going back to Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific 130 years ago.


                    I believe Corporations were supposed to die after 50 years.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 7:39pm

                <Href>https://www.wired.com/2017/02/88-tiny-satellites-will-watch-time-everywhere/</Href&am p;gt;

                Who blocked this site explaining google's 88 satellites watching the world nonstop for the life of earth??

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 9:24pm

                  Re:

                  Nobody. You have the wrong link.

                  h**ps://www.wired.com/2017/02/88-tiny-satellites-will-watch-time-everywhere/

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 9:28pm

                    Re: Re:

                    Actually, correction, you have the right link, you're just bad at posting on this site since it uses markdown formatting and not html tags.

                    The URL works just fine for me, just not your href mangled one.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 6:18am

                  Re:

                  for the life of the earth?

                  What is that supposed to mean? The life expectancy of spacecraft is very limited due to the environment. Are these satellites some new fangled invention that defies the laws of nature?

                  Lisa, In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2018 @ 6:17am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

                "But I also don't make shit up..."
                You mean like shit that was made up to obtain the FISA regarding accusations that were made against the duly elected president ...the witch hunt started by an unwarranted Special Counsel?🙄

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

        • identicon
          John Smith, 14 Sep 2018 @ 3:56pm

          Re: Re: Re: Shocked

          Doesn't have to be a total monopoly.

          What's the word we use to describe searching for something on the internet through a search engine?

          Yes, Google is a monopoly, and should be broken up, so that they can become a cartel.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 6:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

            What's the word we use to describe searching for something on the internet through a search engine?

            TIL: Kleenex, Lego, Band-Aid, Xerox, and every other product with a genericized trademark are monopolies.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 7:29pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

            Google destroyed advertizing revenue for millions of people.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 9:32pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

            Doesn't have to be a total monopoly.

            TIL I learned that monopoly doesn't actually mean monopoly. Apparently you can have multiple viable competitors and still be a monopoly.

            What's the word we use to describe searching for something on the internet through a search engine?

            Uh, search? Or web search? Internet search? Look it up on the internet? Oh oh you meant google it. Yeah, that's not actually evidence of anything other than popularity. Kind of how kleenex and velcro were so popular it's become a generic term despite having multiple competitors.

            Yes, Google is a monopoly, and should be broken up, so that they can become a cartel.

            Explain how to break up Google Search. And no, I'm not talking about Gmail, Android, Youtube or any other of the Alphabet offerings. You are claiming Google Search on its own, is a monopoly. Explain how you would break it up then.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 1:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Shocked

            personally the term I use to describe searching for something on the internet is DuckDuckGo ing

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 2:20pm

        Re: Re: Shocked

        Trump has always be against corporate monopolies, including such monopolies as Google.

        What has he done to oppose monopolies?

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      • icon
        freakanatcha (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 3:45pm

        Re: Re: Shocked

        Nonsense. Trump loves some monopolies. His FCC killed net neutrality for broadband providers that have a monopoly or duopoly for 75% of the U.S. Quite literally, Comcast can decide what sites and at what speeds you can view this site.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 6:24am

          Re: Re: Re: Shocked

          Trump loves/hates whatever one minute and totally opposite the next. Can not believe anything the guy says because he will contradict it sooner or later.

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

  • identicon
    brad, 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:03am

    bias

    Techdirt is one of the companies who will need to be investigated for its obvious political bias.

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

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    icon
    Sayonara Felicia-San (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:24am

    It's about time...

    I'll believe it when I see it. So far companies have been free to make up as much news as they want, as long as it's against Trump.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 3:13pm

      Give us an example of Google, Twitter, or Facebook themselves producing "fake news" about Mr. Trump.

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

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        identicon
        John Smith, 14 Sep 2018 @ 3:58pm

        Re:

        One could argue that enforcement of their TOS policies has the same effect as direct manipulation.

        Personally I see messages of all kinds online though individual platforms definitely seem to be biased.

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        • icon
          Sayonara Felicia-San (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 4:03pm

          Re: Re:

          of course, when you have the entire super-set of opinions from which to pull from, you can easily craft whatever narrative you want by simply creating an algorithm, which rewards those opinions you want to see.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 4:55pm

          Re: Re:

          Can you provide an example of the direct, knowing creation of "fake news" by an employee of any of the companies I listed above?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 9:44pm

          Re: Re:

          One could argue that enforcement of their TOS policies has the same effect as direct manipulation.

          Yeah, sure, whatever.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:21pm

          Re: Re:

          So no.

          Not surprising since you’re 0 for 100 on providing actual evidence. One might almost think you are completely full of shit.

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 7:43am

            Re: Re: Re:

            This is my Sayonara Felicia-San, the mods won't allow me to respond to my own threads, because my ideas are too dangerous.

            Yes IT IS CENSORSHIP.

            If you have a large enough user base, like Twitter, then we can assume that your users represent a cross-section of all possible opinions for practical purposes.

            If you then take that super-set of all possible ideas and opinions, and filter it to only include and promote the ideas and opinions that you want, then it is THE SAME EXACT THING as never allowing those opinions to begin with.

            You are in effect, inventing and creating fake news.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 8:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "the mods won't allow me to respond to my own threads, because my ideas are too dangerous."

              - Are you sure it is "the mods"? It is probably just the Google that is censoring you right now.


              "represent a cross-section of all possible opinions "
              - Yup .. all possible opinions are represented by twitter.

              "then take that super-set of all possible ideas and opinions"
              - What are you smoking?


              " THE SAME EXACT THING as never allowing those opinions to begin with"
              - DUH


              "You are in effect, inventing and creating fake news."
              - No - that is Donald's job

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            • identicon
              Too Much Coffee Man, 15 Sep 2018 @ 11:07am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Nothing is preventing you from starting your own website and posting whatever content you see fit.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 Sep 2018 @ 12:03pm

              What you described is the creation of a filter bubble. A filter bubble is not “fake news”.

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

            • icon
              Mike Masnick (profile), 15 Sep 2018 @ 9:14pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              This is my Sayonara Felicia-San, the mods won't allow me to respond to my own threads, because my ideas are too dangerous.

              Uh, no. A couple of your comments got caught in the spam filter and were cleared when noticed. Your ideas are not dangerous. They tend to be ignorant and silly, but not dangerous.

              Yes IT IS CENSORSHIP.

              Nah, dawg. Just spam filter being a bit aggressive.

              You are in effect, inventing and creating fake news.

              Get over yourself.

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                icon
                Sayonara Felicia-San (profile), 18 Sep 2018 @ 11:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Oh Mike.....

                ME: "Yes IT IS CENSORSHIP."
                MIKE: "Nah, dawg. Just spam filter being a bit aggressive."
                ME: "You are in effect, inventing and creating fake news."
                MIKE:" Get over yourself."

                I wasn't referring to you. I was referring to the "Social Media Giants" like Facebook, Twitter, & Google.

                Because they are so large, and contain such a large of volume of the public discourse.

                Their censorship of "certain ideas" and "certain ways of talking" is just as, if not more dangerous than the now outdated concept of government censorship.

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

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        icon
        Sayonara Felicia-San (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 4:01pm

        Re:

        In the holy Qu'ran it is written:

        وَلَا تُطِعْ كُلَّ حَلَّافٍ مَّهِينٍ - 68:10
        And do not obey any vile swearer.

        هَمَّازٍ مَّشَّاءٍ بِنَمِيمٍ - 68:11
        Backbiter, spreader of slander.



        The most recent slander made up by H-1B visa holders who work for these companies is that Trump murdered 3,000 Puerto Ricans.

        However, there are countless ongoing narratives, such as the ever popular "Trump is Racist" narrative for which there is zero proof:

        Omarosa says Trump is a racist who uses N-word – and claims there is tape to prove it | US news | The Guardian

        https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/10/omarosa-trump-book-the-apprentice-memoir


        ....naturall y, no such tape was ever produced.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 6:36pm

      Re: It's about time...

      lol

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

  • identicon
    bob, 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:24am

    ... what in the world can that be?

    This is nothing more than a desperate attempt to distract from the latest round of bull crap coming from the Whitehouse. Or just a way to appease the baby pretending to be President.


    Bonus points if you know where the quote in the subject came from.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 8:21am

      Re: ... what in the world can that be?

      The Prince Groom. :P I thought that people thinking knowing that movie's lines off by heart stopped being cool in the 90s internet. Guess it's just in time to get cool again.

      Now I'll grab my newspaper and keep glaring at the kids in my rocking chair.

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  • icon
    Igualmente69 (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:29am

    Even investigating bias violates the First Amendment.

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

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:36am

      Re:

      actually no.

      The first amendment says, make no law, EO is not constitutionally law though many treat it that way and if a prez actually wants someone dead they will get that way. Additionally, prez can investigate anything they want including the cankor on your ass, they just can't do anything to you once they find out your are so biased that you are practically an alien.

      There is no 1st amendment violation until someone tries to bring "criminal" charges. Civil charges can still apply in the event that something like libel can be used to convince a judge that a case should go foward.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 1:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          poor stupid thad....

          I am correct, whether you like it or not. And there are more than enough people in jail and arrested to prove me beyond right.

          When popehat starts legally judging and deciding cases, then you can send them my way. Until then, I am going to follow what has actually "legally" happened to people that thought the 1st was protecting them!

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 2:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            More paint for the paint eaters! More lead for the lead throne!

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 9:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The only stupid one here is you. Since the law literally says you're wrong and you don't have any facts to back up your claims. Enjoy your delusions.

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      • icon
        Igualmente69 (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 12:26pm

        Re: Re:

        Except of course that it is well established law the chilling effects of potential prosecution are violations themselves. There is no basis to investigate in the first place because political bias is, by definition, protected, and therefore any investigation can only exist to intimidate or threaten, which is forbidden.

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        • icon
          Igualmente69 (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 12:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          that chilling effects*

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 12:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Would that be the same well established law that says you have a right to the 1st amendment except when you are served and NSL? Or if you give the media classified info? Or how about when you stand on the wrong corner taking pictures?



          Additionally, all sorts of laws are already being broken in regards to the 1st and none of you are batting a fucking eye either.

          Like I said, they can investigate anything they want and however they want. You just need to get a judge to agree with you that they went too far.

          If you have to sue for reprieve you don't have rights.

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          • icon
            Igualmente69 (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 12:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I really don't know why you are mentioning things that have nothing to do with my comment.

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

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 1:08pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It was answered, but lets be more direct since you are too stupid to pick up on the rest.

              What YOU view to be chilling effects, is not going to the same thing that a JUDGE views to be chilling effects. Additionally, the constitution does NOT prevent investigations because an investigation is necessary to determine if a law was broken to begin with. This means that it depends on the "kind of investigation" that occurs if it is in breach of the 1st... NOT JUST ANY INVESTIGATION.

              if you constantly need this level of "obvious" pointed out to you then you are at a serious disadvantage here.

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 Sep 2018 @ 12:07pm

                If you could prove “political bias” was present in Google/Twitter/Facebook algorithms, what law(s) would you say has been broken, and who would you have arrested/indicted/prosecuted for their crime(s)?

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        • identicon
          John Smith, 14 Sep 2018 @ 4:00pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          As opposed to the chilling effects of standing down while someone's life is repeatedly threatened on a platform? I'm still finding threats against me from years ago that were never sanctioned, and other posts in violation of policy.

          The chilling effect of uneven TOS enforcement should be self-evident.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 9:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            As opposed to the chilling effects of standing down while someone's life is repeatedly threatened on a platform?

            If your life is being actually threatened, call the police. The person will be arrested and charged, their accounts will be banned, and the threats against you will stop. Why do we need the platforms to take over the job of the police?

            I'm still finding threats against me from years ago that were never sanctioned, and other posts in violation of policy.

            Then you should report them to the police/FBI instead of waiting around trying to insist that someone else shut them up, while still leaving them free to actually carry out the threat on your life. Can you be any more idiotic?

            The chilling effect of uneven TOS enforcement should be self-evident.

            Only to you. Uneven TOS enforcement is not a crime, breach of contract maybe, but not a crime. And there is nothing chilling about it. You just like to claim it is.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 6:27am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "If your life is being actually threatened, call the police. "

              But .. but .. the police want evidence 'n stuff !!!!!

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              John Smith, 15 Sep 2018 @ 8:04pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You think the police act on every online threat? Even the online services don't if the target doesn't align with them politically.

              Nice fantasy world you live in, where everyone does the right thing at all times. "Rational actor" fallacy.

              What I do to those who threaten me would make them wish all I did was call the cops.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 1:29am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                “What I do to those who threaten me would make them wish all I did was call the cops.”

                You whine like a bitch at them and spread stupid conspiracy theories if you post history is any judge.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Sep 2018 @ 4:46pm

                  In fairness, someone being a whiny jerk all day and night because…reasons would make me want to turn myself in to the authorities before I did something violent to shut them up.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 7:41am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Macho bullshit - it's what's for dinner

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 2:42pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You think the police act on every online threat?

                No, because some are obviously not serious and others are. Besides that, if you don't report it to the police, then they are guaranteeed to NOT act on the threat to your life. Whereas if you report it, there is a chance they will. So, you must not really be in any danger at all (or more likely there are no threats to your life) if you won't even consider reporting it to the police.

                Even the online services don't if the target doesn't align with them politically.

                This is just so much crap. First of all, it's not the job of online services to respond to threats. They aren't the police. If you want them to be the police, then you really do not understand what you are asking for and how much worse we would all be in that scenario. Second of all, their political leanings have absolutely nothing to do with it, as evidenced by the facts.

                Nice fantasy world you live in, where everyone does the right thing at all times. "Rational actor" fallacy.

                I never said that, but just so you know, you have an opportunity to do the right thing (namely reporting threats on your life to the police) and you are refusing to do so. So that makes you either a liar or a hypocrite, take your pick.

                What I do to those who threaten me would make them wish all I did was call the cops.

                Then you are a vigilante and taking the law into your own hands which is illegal. So, who is worse? Those who make vague threats against you that may or may not be serious? Or you who, from what you are implying, torture and/or murder those who do threaten you? I would say the real monster here is you, though I am not condoning anyone making threats against you or anyone else.

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                • icon
                  Toom1275 (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 5:48am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  If the threats the police keep being pestered about aren't actually credible, then there's also the chance of the "cry wolf" situation.

                  The way "John Smith" keeps lying about everything under the sun here, including what people here say to him it's likely that what, if anything, he is reporting to the cops is nothing like what he's likely mischaracterizing it to be.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Prove it.

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

      • icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 1:26pm

        Re: Re:

        There is no 1st amendment violation until someone tries to bring "criminal" charges. Civil charges can still apply in the event that something like libel can be used to convince a judge that a case should go foward.

        Just to be clear for anyone reading this: the above two sentences are nonsense and gibberish, legally speaking. There is plenty of caselaw concerning government bodies trying to influence speech short of filing criminal charges that are violations of the 1st Amendment. The commenter seems to either be ignorant of this or is purposely ignoring it all. Neither is a good luck, but neither is also something that surprises me from this particular commenter, who has a very long history on this site making similarly ignorant or legally nonsense claims.

        Also, this commenter will undoubtedly respond saying something to the effect of I'm too stupid to understand his big galaxy brain understanding of the world. So I'll just pre-empt that and allow readers to make their own decision.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 1:38pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "There is plenty of caselaw concerning government bodies trying to influence speech short of filing criminal charges that are violations of the 1st Amendment."

          Hey look, its the liar in chief today! Okay now Mike, point to the exact words I put here on TD that says I said or even implied that!

          I didn't say anything about any of that stuff. I said that an investigation by itself is not automatically an offense against the 1st amendment. But it sure did not stop you ignorant clowns from running away with the idea that I meant that.

          "Also, this commenter will undoubtedly respond saying something to the effect of I'm too stupid to understand his big galaxy brain understanding of the world."

          You don't say... if the shoe fits.

          Stop being a moron Mike! I know you are smarter than this... or are you?

          "The commenter seems to either be ignorant of this or is purposely ignoring it all."

          I am trying to just correct something someone stated incorrectly on the internet. A lost cause, I know, but it does go to show how fucking many morons will come to the defense of an idiot when confronted!

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 2:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Dude just stop. It’s past pathetic.

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          • icon
            Ryunosuke (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 2:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Except as far back to AT LEAST President Lincoln, SCOTUS has ruled EO's unconstitutional, in Lincoln's case, the EO to... "suspend Habeas Corpus except in times of rebellion or public safety" ... DURING THE FUCKING CIVIL WAR.

            Now the Union army still ignored it and congress didn't contest it, but it's still on the books.

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          • icon
            Mike Masnick (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 2:24pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I rest my case.

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

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              Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 10:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Show the Case law that proves me wrong Mike.

              I want to see a case where "just the bringing of an investigation" was called unconstitutional on 1st Ammendement grounds. If you show me a case were an investigation was brought in obvious "bad faith" then you failed. It needs to be a good faith investigation where a judge rules it unconstitutional.

              An investigation in and of itself is not an automatic breach of the 1st as the person claims.

              Also there is this...

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

              There is more than enough bullshit around this alone to show that your eyes are floating a little.

              There are numerous ways for investigations to be called on speech without violating 1st Amendment grounds especially when "national security" is concerned and you can fucking bet that most of that is biases shit to being with. In fact you write about a few of them yourself Mike.

              You are proof against your own fucking self Mr. Settled Case law!

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              • icon
                Mike Masnick (profile), 15 Sep 2018 @ 9:25pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I want to see a case where "just the bringing of an investigation" was called unconstitutional on 1st Ammendement grounds.

                Bantam Books v. Sullivan. Creation of a commission to investigate obscenity found to be unconstitutional under the 1st Amendment. No criminal charges filed. Just a commission to investigate.

                Backpage v. Dart. A Sheriff asking third parties not to do business with a company ruled a violation of the First Amendment as a form of intimidation. Again, no criminal charges filed.

                Okwedy v. Molinari. A public official complained about some billboards, which resulted in the billboard company deciding to take them down. Ruled a violation of the 1st Amendment, noting that "a public-official... who threatens to employ coercive state power to stifle protected speech violates a plaintiff's First Amendment rights even if the public-official... lacks direct regulatory or decisionmaking authority over the plaintiff or a third party that facilitates the plaintiff's speech.."

                American Family Association v. San Francisco. City officials found to have violated the First Amendment for merely complaining about an advertisement they disliked, pressuring TV and radio stations not to carry it. Again, no case filed.

                I could go on, but there you go. Four very famous cases, all widely known to basically anyone who studies this stuff, establishing that the government easily violates the First Amendment when it seeks to suppress speech through means well outside of criminal (or even civil) litigation. In other words, you were wrong. I said you were wrong, and you're still insulting me.

                You are proof against your own fucking self Mr. Settled Case law!

                Again, as I stated earlier, I will let anyone reading this thread decide for themselves who they think understands this issue and who is a ranting child.

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                • icon
                  Tanner Andrews (profile), 26 Sep 2018 @ 1:39am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  American Family Association v. San Francisco. City officials found to have violated the First Amendment for merely complaining about an advertisement they disliked, pressuring TV and radio stations not to carry it.

                  Actually, in that case, the trial court found no claim. Taking the AFA allegations that the city cmoplained about adverts as true, the trial court dismissed and was affirmed. The city did condemn the ads and the rhetoric therein, and it was at least plausibly argued that the TV stations responded to that condemnation.

                  This was insufficient to state a claim. The other cases mentioned included some sort of official sanction; even in Bantam Books, the letters were followed up with police visits. The dissent ignored this difference, but the majority of the panel found that without some sort of coersion there was no claim. Government is free to complain, indeed, nearly all politicians have opinions.

                  The difference between AFA v. San Francisco and your other cases was that there was no threat, criminal or regulatory, stated or implied. In the other cases there was threat of government coersion.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 10:11pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Show the Case law that proves me wrong Mike.

                Ok.

                Watkins v. United States (1957)

                Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Committee (1963)

                Happy now?

                Also there is this...

                You do realize the Fairness Doctrine no longer exists right? And hasn't for a decade or more? And that it also never applied to anything other than broadcast radio and TV? What does this have to do with anything?

                There is more than enough bullshit around this alone to show that your eyes are floating a little.

                Funny, I could say the same about you.

                There are numerous ways for investigations to be called on speech without violating 1st Amendment grounds especially when "national security" is concerned

                I absolutely agree and so does everyone else here. What is being said is that in this specific instance, it DOES violate the First Amendment. Not investigations as a whole. And the national security excuse only goes so far. There are limitations even on that. In fact, one could say even for "national security" it would be a violation of the First in some circumstances.

                You are proof against your own fucking self Mr. Settled Case law!

                Well, since I've provided case law that proves you wrong, I would say this statement is categorically false.

                Perhaps you should do better research before making truly outstanding claims? Or at least be prepared for someone to call your bluff.

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          • icon
            Toom1275 (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 2:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "There is plenty of caselaw concerning government bodies trying to influence speech short of filing criminal charges that are violations of the 1st Amendment."

            Hey look, its the liar in chief today! Okay now Mike, point to the exact words I put here on TD that says I said or even implied that!

            I'll do it for you, Mr. Liar-in-Chief:

            There is no 1st amendment violation until someone tries to bring "criminal" charges.

            https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180913/14542940637/white-house-potentially-exploring-e xecutive-order-social-media-bias.shtml#c85

            You know, the very words of yours Mike quoted back to you at the top of his comment.

            How pathetic of you to think nobody would notice you lying about something that's on the very same page you're posting your lie to.

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 10:50am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Tries" has an operable component here dumb-ass. If they are just investigating, that is not enough on its own to do anything.

              Show me a case where just the investigation alone, without any regard to the investigators was classified as an infringment of the 1st.

              According to Mike, it is well settle cases law. Should not be hard, now get hopping.

              According to you fucking knobs not even an investigation to "test" if the 1st applies is constitutional. You guys are truly fucking NUTS!

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  • icon
    Bergman (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:34am

    It occurs to me

    That if the government did somehow get some sort of regulation against political bias in media producing or publishing corporations through all the checks and balances, it could seriously backfire.

    By definition, any PAC or political party -- the Republican and Democrat parties, for example -- are politically biased media-producing corporations. So are both MSNBC and Fox News, though to a lesser extent.

    I agree with Mike, this is hilariously unlikely to survive even the flimsiest constitutional challenge, but if it did, the backlash onto their own interests would be EPIC!

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      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:40am

      Re: It occurs to me

      "I agree with Mike, this is hilariously unlikely to survive even the flimsiest constitutional challenge, but if it did, the backlash onto their own interests would be EPIC!"

      This sounds like another "John Oliver" "go ahead and run for president, I DARE YOU!" moment.

      Just by judging the level of ignorance and sheeping around here by a group of folks that like to "think" they know far more than they do, I would not put jack shit past anything.

      There is already a good number of "pro trumpers" more than willing to also sacrifice the 1st amendment just like the lefties in some form of idiotic retribution.

      If you even think that those that voted trump in are as stupid as you claim then you would not dare make such a joke about it because you already know that the possibility for something like this actually happening far more possible than should be comfortable!

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 2:48pm

        If you even think that those that voted trump in are as stupid as you claim then you would not dare make such a joke about it because you already know that the possibility for something like this actually happening far more possible than should be comfortable!

        Maybe you should tell them that Trump isn't an immortal god-king. The speech-squashing power they might want him to have will be in a Democrat's hands one day. If they think Dems are censor-happy assholes now, just wait until they can do what Trump wants to do!

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          Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 11:00am

          Re:

          Unfortunately those guys are becoming as unhinged as many of the lefties around here, including Mike himself.

          Some people are calling it Trump Derangement Syndrome. I think the term fits too. Trump might be shit, but if the solution to defeating that piece of shit is to be shit yourself? Then you have problems.

          None of the past few Presidents have been desirable by any sane country, yet people will constantly say that "we have no choice". All I have to say is that if you have no choice then you have defeated yourself on behalf of the parties.

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        • icon
          Bergman (profile), 15 Sep 2018 @ 11:45am

          Re:

          I don't know, I suspect that hairstyle might be some sort of undead or otherwise eldritch horror.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 1:04pm

      Re: It occurs to me

      In the short term, even in that situation they probably expect that it wouldn't impact them in the slightest beyond maybe making an empty gesture to an investigation or two. After all, they currently control all three branches, they're hardly going to go after their own for 'bias'.

      In the long term however... yeah, that could get nasty, though I'd firmly expect them to start screaming about how unfair it is were the other party to return the favor down the line.

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    • identicon
      John Smith, 14 Sep 2018 @ 4:04pm

      Re: It occurs to me

      Lyndon Larouche would approve!

      Regarding the televised debates, I think any presidential candidate who gets on the ballot in all fifty states should be invited to the first debate, for what that's worth. That would have qualified Gary Johnson but not Jill Stein in 2016.

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:35am

    The only thinkg conservative?

    Is the right wing ability to Advertise..
    Its either that or these are some CHEAP BASTARDS..

    The tricks of the trade are all over the place and it seems these folks tend to be on the side of NOT telling anyone what they stand for, or are doing..and the odds are they dont want us to KNOW..
    The democrats love to stand up and lie to us...But these folks wont even lie properly.

    There is a law about favoritism in the media for 1 side or the other(which they need to FIX).. but they bypassed that by declaring that 'its an advertisement' so the other side has to Pay as much as we did(and they Over paid to cover themselves, and others have to MATCH what they paid)

    There is so much Underhandedness between these 2 groups and HOW they do things that it confuses the SPIT' out of our whole system.

    I would LOVE to put all the money in a kitty, and split it between any political group Evenly, as long as they had a Minimum of persons registered in their group.. NOT he with the most money gets all the time on the TV..

    I would also like to ask for a few other requirements, but they wont do that. either. Like about of Life history, and real life experience. as well as how many sim games they have ever played and won.

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:43am

      Re: The only thinkg conservative?

      the "right wing" is no more "conservative" then the "left wing" is "liberal".

      conservatives and liberals can get along... lefties and righties cannot because they are both too extreme to get along with anyone! It's either their way or you are enemy!

      I am a classic liberal with some conservative values, but I hate both parties and I hate the left and right... well now being called the alt-right. The constant misapplication of words around here leaves much to be desired.

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    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:51am

      Re: The only thinkg conservative?

      In my observation over the last few presidents back to Bush 1, I'd rather be screwed by the Democrats than the Republicans.
      Maybe RR was a different Republican, but it seems to me that after him Republicans have gone 300% batshit crazy.

      This one has set the bar on batshit crazy. I swear if a Republican gets voted in next election I am moving to Denmark.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 12:02pm

        Re: Re: The only thinkg conservative?

        "I swear if a Republican gets voted in next election I am moving to Denmark."

        Don't wait, move now. Only cowards flee their countries instead of saying behind to try and help fix things.

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        • identicon
          Baron von Robber, 14 Sep 2018 @ 2:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: The only thinkg conservative?

          I'm curious, what country did you reside in during the Obama years?

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        • identicon
          bob, 14 Sep 2018 @ 3:08pm

          Re: Re: Re: The only thinkg conservative?

          Only cowards flee their countries instead of saying behind to try and help fix things.

          Okay I will try saying it: Behind, behind, BEHIND...behind?...behind.

          Nope doesn't seem to be fixing anything.

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        • icon
          ECA (profile), 15 Sep 2018 @ 12:06pm

          Re: Re: Re: The only thinkg conservative?

          WE, th epeople CAN fix it, the problem tends to be that the Congress and others have to VOTE on it...

          This is like asking are they Paid enough..

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      John Smith, 14 Sep 2018 @ 5:59pm

      Re: The only thinkg conservative?

      Yes, the woman chose the badboy by accident. She didn't know he was a jerk. She really likes nice guys.

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  • icon
    got_runs? (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:36am

    what, what, what?

    Trump = Dementia!

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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:48am

    What are we talking about

    From https://legaldictionary.net/bias/

    BIAS

    The term bias refers to the tendency of a person to favor one thing, idea, or person over another. In a legal context, bias can lead an individual, such as a judge or juror, to treat someone unfairly, in spite of the fact that hearings and trials are designed to be unbiased assessments of the facts of a case. Bias may also affect such issues as applications for jobs or entry into the country, and recruitment of individuals for other purposes. To explore this concept, consider the following bias definition.

    Definition of Bias

    Noun

    A tendency, opinion, or inclination that is preconceived or unreasoned

    A predisposition or preconceived opinion that bars impartial evaluation of facts

    A prejudice

    The way bias is often used one could easily stand in the middle and look left or right and see bias. At the same time on could stand to the right and look left or right and see bias. Or they could stand way to the right and still look left or right and see bias. The same goes for standing to the left and looking, or standing way to the left and looking. The same goes for progressive or conservative. It is just a matter of perspective, and your perspective is your bias while trying to blame other for their bias's is biased in and of itself.

    So who is right? No one, and everyone. Together we make up the spectrum. All sides of the spectrum are heard from, but some are so frantic in their observations or statements as to be considered extreme and/or extremely rude, nasty, intolerant, and overtly prejudiced. Those are the ones who get kicked off platforms. Not necessarily for their views, but how they go about expressing those views. Especially if threats are included.

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    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 14 Sep 2018 @ 11:55am

      Re: What are we talking about

      I dont see how this is even a thing. Surely it would be a lost cause trying to go after the CNN and NBC's in this manner. I dont see how anything could become of it even if it was found these companies are biased.

      This seems like more grandstanding from the Toddler in charge.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 1:22pm

        Re: Re: What are we talking about

        No, think of the benefits, the backlash might help cement the 1st even more. Sure it is a risk, but lets have this battle out and see what happens. The extremes on the left and right need a good shocking wake-up call... then again this assumes they have enough intelligence to hear it over the spin of their own machinations.

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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 12:00pm

    From Ken Whites analysis on antitrust

    "...To the extent antitrust is concerned with bias it’s not the "kick the Nazis off the platform" kind. It's more like a concern about, for instance, Google altering search results to prefer products and services it owns."

    Which makes one wonder if bias is so bad and ISP's and Telecoms are zero rating THEIR content, why aren't they being investigated for 'bias'? At least that 'bias' is provable.

    Also if Trump is so concerned with bias, why is he allowing Pai to let these other companies be biased? Right, independent agency. Then one has to ask why Trump appointed someone who so blatantly expressed their desire to allow such bias prior to their appointment? Does he not understand that these 'biases' will leak over into politics, and not necessarily in a way he will like?

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 12:04pm

      Re: From Ken Whites analysis on antitrust

      My team is pure as the driven snow, your team is evil incarnate.

      Something along those lines... IS HOW!

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    • identicon
      John Smith, 14 Sep 2018 @ 6:21pm

      Re: From Ken Whites analysis on antitrust

      Because the FCC literally owns Trump. Lock, stock, and barrel. They are a shadow government unto themselves.

      No one seems to care about this but it is the case. Trump cannot go up agains the FCC and if he does it's probably as controlled opposition. They have more power than he ever will.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 6:39pm

        Re: Re: From Ken Whites analysis on antitrust

        Your conspiracy makes zero sense.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 7:56pm

        Re: Re: From Ken Whites analysis on antitrust

        Because the FCC literally owns Trump

        You mean the same one that repealed Title II under Pai's orders?

        Shadow government owning Trump, my ass.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 12:03pm

    Bias,..isn't that the political equivalent of heresy, that is if you don't agree with me you are biased/ a heretic?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 8:24pm

      Re:

      Exactly right.. tHEY are absolutely trying to slip a noose around the "Techdirts" of the internet. Mark my words.

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    identicon
    Pizz'd Oft Citizen, 14 Sep 2018 @ 12:44pm

    Yo mr dumbfuck president...

    There be Democraps in da Guv'ment, yud bezt gits rid o's dem ferst, if'ns yuz wurreed 'boutz dem elzevere.

    Also, try removing Putin's hand from inside your anal cavity you use for a brain, the puppet show needs to be over.

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      identicon
      John Smith, 14 Sep 2018 @ 6:20pm

      Re: Yo mr dumbfuck president...

      "try removing Putin's hand from your anal cavity...and put Ken White's there instead."

      Ken White is ONE lawyer. Credentialism doesn't give him a monopoly on legal analsysis or correct opinion. Every person can serve on a JURY and analyze the law in that context.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 10:13pm

        Re: Re: Yo mr dumbfuck president...

        Credentialism doesn't give him a monopoly on legal analsysis or correct opinion.

        No, but he does happen to be well respected in the legal community for generally correctly interpreting the law. Plus his analysis in this case is backed up by a couple hundred years of legal precedent and court cases, which he cites. So it's not just one lawyer stating it. It's one lawyer citing hundreds of years of facts that prove you wrong, and the entire rest of the legal community agreeing with him.

        Every person can serve on a JURY and analyze the law in that context.

        And they can also analyze the law without serving on a jury. What's your point here?

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          identicon
          John Smith, 15 Sep 2018 @ 8:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: Yo mr dumbfuck president...

          Argument ad populum.

          White is also a practicing attorney and officer of the court. First Amendment law may apply to what he says, b ut a host of other laws do as well.

          Some of his speech is highly disrespectful, especially considering it came from a practicing attorney. Sites like this aren't the place to do a full article on White, but many others are. I'll save my rebuttals for places like that, given the very high esteem in which he is held around here, as you noted.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 10:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Yo mr dumbfuck president...

            So you got called on your bullshit and are running away with a deflection and not responding to any of my points. Typical.

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              identicon
              John Smith, 16 Sep 2018 @ 4:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yo mr dumbfuck president...

              Not wating time on a pointless debate is not "running away." I made my point about Ken White, that is he one attorney with one point of view, not the arbiter of everything. Not much more to say on top of that.

              If he's "well-respected" that means he has fans, not that he's right (or wrong). The internet has been a cult of personality.

              Now I could draw a nice diagram of Mr. White's online friends and associates and let the readers draw their own conclusions, but I doubt such a posting would remain up here for very long. On a lawyer-review site, maybe, depending on the site.

              Ken is actually extremely insignificant in terms of the level of battles I fight online. A pec, a gnat, a noisemaker who gets really snarky, which everyone remains until the correct nerve has been struck. Usually those who are snarky don't fare so well when truly confronted. Ever see him REALLY angry?

              This isn't the place for a large dissection of Ken White's online presence. Any further debate would inevitably lead to one, and I frankly ave more important things to do. For now.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 2:58pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yo mr dumbfuck president...

                You're still deflecting but kudos for not running away like I thought you would.

                Not wating time on a pointless debate is not "running away."

                Hey man, you're the one who brought it up. If you want to call your own argument pointless and a waste of time, I'm more than happy to agree.

                I made my point about Ken White, that is he one attorney with one point of view, not the arbiter of everything. Not much more to say on top of that.

                Yeah, you did. And I pointed out, with facts, that you were wrong. So far you haven't actually provided any evidence to prove me wrong.

                If he's "well-respected" that means he has fans, not that he's right (or wrong).

                No, that's not accurate. Having fans means people like you. You can be respected and have no one like you at all. I respect Mr. Trump as our duly elected President. That doesn't mean I like him and I am definitely not a fan. Besides that, the reason WHY Mr. White is respected within the legal community is BECAUSE he writes accurate opinions, backed up by court cases and law, that everyone else agrees with and says is correct. If he was wrong then he would not be respected, which again, is different from being liked or having fans.

                The internet has been a cult of personality.

                Yep. But that doesn't automatically make a person wrong. Take Elon Musk, definitely a cult of personality there. But he proved everyone else wrong and built a successful private space launch system that vastly undercuts the price of any other system. Literally everyone who derided him is now eating crow and refuses to bet against him publicly.

                Now I could draw a nice diagram of Mr. White's online friends and associates and let the readers draw their own conclusions, but I doubt such a posting would remain up here for very long.

                And what would that prove? That he has certain preferences for friends and associates just like everyone else? That has nothing to do with him being right or wrong. Read his stuff, and provide evidence that what he says is wrong. That is the only thing that matters, in any discussion. The fact that you are unwilling to do so means you don't actually have anything to prove him wrong with.

                Ken is actually extremely insignificant in terms of the level of battles I fight online.

                Lol. Prove it. What battles are you fighting right now and have fought in the past? Still doesn't make him wrong though.

                Usually those who are snarky don't fare so well when truly confronted.

                Like you?

                A pec, a gnat, a noisemaker who gets really snarky, which everyone remains until the correct nerve has been struck.

                What's wrong, did I strike a nerve with you?

                Ever see him REALLY angry?

                No. Have you?

                This isn't the place for a large dissection of Ken White's online presence. Any further debate would inevitably lead to one, and I frankly ave more important things to do. For now.

                On the contrary, it's exactly the place since everyone here respects his opinion and agrees he is correct. But once again, you've been called out on your bullshit, you tried to deflect (and failed), and are once again attempting to run away. Typical.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 2:09pm

    They should call it the Fairness Doctrine - LOL

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  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 14 Sep 2018 @ 7:32pm

    Bull**** Alert

    It tries to hide these behind antitrust claims, saying that it's about ensuring competition and preventing the exercise of market power that "harms consumers, including through the exercise of bias."

    When this Administration says anything like this, it invariably means handing power to the large corporations at the expense of everyone else. As if the very concept of this executive order weren't concerning enough.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 8:01pm

    Couldn't this be laying the foundation for other legislation that could follow?

    Personally I have trouble seeing how a search engine, supposedly, can get away with censoring search results as I have seen.

    Also corporations operating globally that put countless satellites around earth showing our hallowed country to the entire world wanting to be protected by our constitution. That bothers me to the core.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 6:32am

      Re:

      "Personally I have trouble seeing how a search engine, supposedly, can get away with censoring search results as I have seen."

      Please tell us what you have seen.


      " .. put countless satellites around earth showing our hallowed country to the entire world wanting to be protected by our constitution"

      What? ... What are you trying to say?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 6:51am

      Re:

      Couldn't this be laying the foundation for other legislation that could follow?

      It could be. And if so, it should be avoided like the plague.

      Personally I have trouble seeing how a search engine, supposedly, can get away with censoring search results as I have seen.

      Easily. Because it's not censorship, it's curation, and perfectly legal. The only things search engines "censor" (in the US anyway) are links to illegal or infringing content that have received valid DMCA takedown notices. Other than that, they don't censor anything. If you have proof of them actually censoring something, I would be curious to know the details, as I highly doubt it's actually censored.

      Also corporations operating globally that put countless satellites around earth showing our hallowed country to the entire world wanting to be protected by our constitution. That bothers me to the core.

      Well, that is your opinion and you are entitled to it. Long before corporations did it, governments were doing it to ACTUALLY spy on us so this isn't anything new. In fact, we've gotten a lot of benefit from it. It's given us new understanding of not only our country but our world and enabled new and incredibly helpful services and technologies.

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 15 Sep 2018 @ 9:58am

      Re:

      Personally I have trouble seeing how a search engine, supposedly, can get away with censoring search results as I have seen.

      If if they are doing so, it's because that's constitutionally protected activity. So they get away with it the same way you get away with saying whatever you want - it's your right to do so.

      Also corporations operating globally that put countless satellites around earth showing our hallowed country to the entire world wanting to be protected by our constitution.

      Are you saying it shouldn't be that way, or just that it bothers you?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2018 @ 8:14pm

    Who made it law that the internet or groups' discussions HAVE TO BE POLITICALLY CORRECT?? I CALL BULLSHIT.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 2:07am

    Simple Answer - Pay Trump

    With all the debate and defense of “corporate rights” vs. “individual rights”, I think the point is being missed. The intent of the first amendment was to allow people to promote their own speech in the public square without restriction, either by the government or by a mob or even another individual intent on silencing them. Free speech is fundamentally the right to speak IN PUBLIC, that is, in a place that OTHER PEOPLE could frequent.

    That’s the Internet. It’s a PUBLIC PLACE. Corporations can say and control whatever they want within their own walls. But ON THE INTERNET people should be allowed to speak, unrestricted, because it is a public place.

    Google can be as biased as it wants ON IT’S OWN COMPUS (as can Techdirt). However, giving PUBLIC SEARCH RESULTS and hosting PUBLIC FORUMS on the PUBLIC INTERNET should be done WITHOUT CENSORSHIP and with FULLY DISCLOSED TECHNIQUES AND POLICIES.

    Or else. That’s my recommending to Trump. Maybe I’ll even give him some money to do it, he likes that.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 6:38am

      Re: Simple Answer - Pay Trump

      "The intent of the first amendment was to allow people to promote their own speech in the public square without restriction, either by the government or by a mob or even another individual intent on silencing them. "

      Wrong. You could correct the above by removal of "or by a mob or even another individual intent on silencing them". Such activities might fall under disturbing the peace or even assault but not 1st amendment. Totally different things.


      The internet is not a public place.

      Interesting - you claim to be a Trump whisperer huh?
      Do you take requests?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 7:30am

        Re: Re: Simple Answer - Pay Trump

        Your position is that the Internet is a private place?

        Really? 555

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 8:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Simple Answer - Pay Trump

          "Your position is that the Internet is a private place?"

          My position is that "the Internet" is not a platform.

          Theoretically, there are no first amendment issues with the internet as regulated under net neutrality. With NN gone, things may get weird but it remains debatable as to whether such ISP activities would be addressed via the first amendment.

          Now, some people conflate the internet with the platforms and refuse to distinguish the two apparently because it suits their purpose.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 7:04pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Simple Answer - Pay Trump

            Consider the Internet from the angle of physical space and time. Does it exist now? Yes. Did it exist before the 20th century? No. It exists now, and it did not exist before, so it has a history and a place in time. Does it consist of physical components? Yes. Where are those components? Spread all over the world. It has a physical manifestation and a place in space. It has both physical existence in time and space.

            It is used by the public? Of course. Is it private? No. The Internet is a public platform of inter-connectivity.

            It’s the modern public square.

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            • icon
              nasch (profile), 15 Sep 2018 @ 7:30pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Simple Answer - Pay Trump

              It’s the modern public square.

              According to the law, or you?

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 7:33pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Simple Answer - Pay Trump

                I am making a common sense argument. Common sense. Remember that?

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                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 15 Sep 2018 @ 7:47pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Simple Answer - Pay Trump

                  Sure. But law generally trumps common sense. You can scream all you want that the internet is the public square and Facebook doesn't have the right to delete your posts, but if the courts say otherwise then it's just screaming.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 8:01pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Simple Answer - Pay Trump

                    I don’t remember screaming, only stating the obvious. The law will catch up to common sense, at least in the USA. Watch and see.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 7:52am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Simple Answer - Pay Trump

                      It is not common sense as you claim, you simply do not understand the internet how it works and how all the various platforms connect to it and thru it.

                      You act as tho you think the law makes sense .. this is pathetic. The law dictates what the wealthy demand, there is no sense involved and that is the only thing that is common.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Sep 2018 @ 4:42pm

              The Internet is a communications network. To use the term of your strained analogy, websites would be the “public squares” and Internet connections would be how we get to/enter those places. (Which means the Internet is a toll road.)

              But even if we were to accept your analogy, it still has a fatal flaw: Websites owned by private parties instead of the government are not “public squares”. They are privately-owned spaces that the government cannot force the owners to let you use. No law, statute, or executive order can force Twitter’s owners and operators to allow Alex Jones back onto Twitter.

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              • icon
                The Wanderer (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 4:49am

                Re:

                I think the argument would be that that latter point is itself a flaw, in that it means there is no "public square" in which people are free to speak.

                If I understand matters correctly, the term "public square" would be derived from relatively-ancient history; in a small village, the public square was the part of the village through which everyone in the area passed or in which everyone in the area hung out, and if you could post your signs or speak your opinions there everyone would see or hear them.

                By analogy to that, the modern public square must be the place where everyone (for sufficiently large values thereof) hangs out, to which some part of everyone's attention goes, et cetera.

                If the places where everyone hangs out are privately owned, and being privately owned is sufficient to disqualify a place from qualifying as a public square for purposes of speech protections, then there is no public square for those purposes anymore.

                And for the same reasons protecting speech in the public square was deemed worthwhile in the first place, that does, indeed, seem like it would be a problem.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 10:11am

                  Re: Re:

                  "there is no public square"

                  ... on the internet


                  Which brings up the question, should there be? I suppose that the local municipality website, if it had a comment section, might be called a public place.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 6:41pm

                  If the places where everyone hangs out are privately owned, and being privately owned is sufficient to disqualify a place from qualifying as a public square for purposes of speech protections, then there is no public square for those purposes anymore.

                  Two things.

                  1. We still have plenty of public lands on which people can gather and talk freely.

                  2. No one can force a privately owned and operated service such as Twitter to host all legally protected speech and allow anyone to use the site regardless of the existing TOS or any prior moderation decisions by the Twitter owners/administrators. Twitter is not a public square. Nobody—including you—can force it to be one.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 7:53pm

                    Re:

                    There is a simple answer to your quandary about privately owned servers - let them do what they want, unless they connect to the PUBLIC internet. If they use the PUBLIC internet to gather to publish speech from others, then they have to follow some PUBLIC rules and regulations about that speech.

                    I think the FCC is a good organization to accomplish this. For example, you cannot broadcast radio waves into the PUBLIC airwaves without being regulated. Just use the same logic for the PUBLIC internet.

                    On your PRIVATE server on your PRIVATE network, do as you wish. But if you use the PUBLIC internet, you have to allow the PUBLIC to have a say about how you handle PUBLIC information, including rules about censorship concerning PUBLIC speech.

                    Simple. And Coming Soon To an Internet Near You.

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                    • icon
                      nasch (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 8:15pm

                      Re: Re:

                      Simple. And Coming Soon To an Internet Near You.

                      Don't hold your breath. Given how clearly the courts have stated that these site operators have first amendment rights to decide what gets published on their platforms, the internet as it exists in the US is not going in the direction you outlined any time soon.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 8:20pm

                        Re: Re: Re:

                        Well, that would be the point of a LAW to make this direction clear, right? If the Congress passed a law outlining the requirements and obligations of those using the PUBLIC internet, then the courts would not have much to say, other than rulings that FOLLOW THE LAW.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 9:08pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Well in that case, that would be Congress making a law abridging the freedom of speech, which is a violation of the First Amendment and exactly what it is there to protect against.

                          Also in that case, the courts would say (since they are a check and balance to Congress and can declare laws unconstitutional) that that law outlining the requirements and obligations of those using the "public" internet is in direct violation of the First Amendment and would strike it from the law books as being unconstitutional and subsequently refuse to enforce it.

                          You're really not very good at this, are you?

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 9:38pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Oh, no, you’re right, you are the expert, really, I would be the first to acknowledge that.

                            You are basically stating it is impossible to regulate the internet in any form by anyone, ever. Thanks for clearing that up.

                            Funny how the Chinese seem to be able to do it, with Google’s help. And Europe. And Russia. And all of Asia.

                            But in the US, we can’t regulate our own public utilities because ..... ?

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                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 9:46pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              If we can regulate the Air(Waves), surely we can regulate the Internet. If we can regulate how loud people can play MUSIC and at what times and in what places, we can regulate the Internet.

                              Shirley.

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                            • icon
                              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 10:05pm

                              Two reasons:

                              1. The Internet is not a recognized public utility.

                              2. Privately-owned platforms in the U.S. have First Amendment protections; forcing those platforms to host any kind of speech (or to stop hosting legal speech) would abridge those rights.

                              Also, China (and countries that follow its lead in this regard) censor the Internet by restricting access to speech that would be considered legal in numerous other countries. Last time I checked, reading about Tianamen Square will not get me tossed in jail in the U.S., but it would likely get me kicked out of China.

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                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 11:00pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              You are basically stating it is impossible to regulate the internet in any form by anyone, ever. Thanks for clearing that up.

                              No, I'm saying the US government can't regulate the internet. Ever. Period. Full stop. Because people posting on the internet is speech, and the US government is restricted from regulating speech by the First Amendment. Your argument is literally saying "well then the government can never tell people what to say and not to say", and to that I say yes, absolutely. Nor should the government be able to tell people what they can and cannot say.

                              Funny how the Chinese seem to be able to do it, with Google’s help. And Europe. And Russia. And all of Asia.

                              And none of those countries have the US First Amendment or built-in protections against the government doing exactly that kind of regulation. If you want to have a regulated internet, move to China.

                              But in the US, we can’t regulate our own public utilities because ..... ?

                              1. The internet is not a public utility, and never will be. That's not how the internet works. That's like saying water is a public utility. No, water is not a public utility. Providing access to clean, running water is a public utility. But, the government can't tell me what to do with that water once I have access to it, or regulate my own private well.

                              2. No one said the US can't regulate public utilities. The internet is not a public utility and therefore can't be regulated as such.

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

                              • icon
                                nasch (profile), 18 Sep 2018 @ 8:30am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                No, I'm saying the US government can't regulate the internet.

                                It absolutely can, and did until recently with its net neutrality rules.

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                                • icon
                                  That One Guy (profile), 18 Sep 2018 @ 12:53pm

                                  The road is not the store it connects to

                                  Please don't fall into the trap the ISP's are constantly pushing, conflating companies that provide access to the internet with the internet itself.

                                  The USG was regulating the companies(poorly to be sure, but they at least tried to improve before Pai showed up), they were not regulating the internet.

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                                  • icon
                                    nasch (profile), 18 Sep 2018 @ 2:10pm

                                    Re: The road is not the store it connects to

                                    OK, they were regulating internet access. Without which the internet is meaningless.

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                                    • icon
                                      That One Guy (profile), 18 Sep 2018 @ 6:38pm

                                      Re: Re: The road is not the store it connects to

                                      True to the extent that if you can't access something it might as well not exist for you, but false in that it stands to give people a false impression of what's happening(why else do you think the ISP's constantly try to conflate the two?) Going down that road you could potentially argue that regulations of intercontinental airlines was regulation of stores in other countries, because if you can't get to them they may as well not exist.

                                      Regulating the companies that provide access does not regulate the internet, any more than regulating a road that leads to various stores by ensuring that it does not 'favor' any of them is regulation of those stores, and more to the point what they're selling and how.

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                                    • identicon
                                      Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2018 @ 6:20am

                                      Re: Re: The road is not the store it connects to

                                      Granted but there is still a HUGE difference between regulating internet access, and the internet itself.

                                      Being able to get access to a car is not the same as what I can do with that car once I have it.

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                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 9:36pm

                      Re: Re:

                      if you use the PUBLIC internet, you have to allow the PUBLIC to have a say about how you handle PUBLIC information, including rules about censorship concerning PUBLIC speech

                      If I ask the government to make you host a backup of Stormfront on the servers you have connected to the “public” Internet, how hard would you object to being forced into hosting the speech of White supremacists and Nazis?

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 9:39pm

                        Re: Re: Re:

                        I just don’t get what you are saying. You seem to be implying that if someone has a particular internal belief system that you don’t agree with, they are not allowed to speak AT ALL. That’s kind of the definition of tyranny, right?

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                        • icon
                          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 9:56pm

                          You seem to be implying that if someone has a particular internal belief system that you don’t agree with, they are not allowed to speak AT ALL.

                          Nah, fam, not what I am saying at all. Let me quote you again:

                          if you use the PUBLIC internet, you have to allow the PUBLIC to have a say about how you handle PUBLIC information, including rules about censorship concerning PUBLIC speech

                          I am a member of the public. That means I get to have a say in how we handle public information. The question remains: If I ask the government to make you host a backup of Stormfront on the servers you have connected to the “public” Internet, how hard would you object to being forced into hosting the speech of White supremacists and Nazis?

                          My point, if you care to argue in good faith for once, is this: When you say the Internet is a “public place” and the public gets to have “a say about how you handle [public] information”, that means I get to have a say, too. And my say would be asking the government to make you host the speech of White supremacists on public-facing servers, no matter how you feel about doing so, simply because I could. (Also spite. Spite is a hell of a motivator.) After all, their speech is technically “public information”, and as you said…

                          if you use the PUBLIC internet, you have to allow the PUBLIC to have a say about how you handle PUBLIC information, including rules about censorship concerning PUBLIC speech

                          If you refused to host that speech, under your logic, would that make you a censor?

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 10:17pm

                            Re:

                            I am still having a bit of trouble following your example. How about this: If you invite THE PUBLIC to post on your website using the PUBLIC internet, then you should follow some rules and regulations that are good for the PUBLIC and not just yourself.

                            More Clear?

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                            • icon
                              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 10:25pm

                              Re: Re:

                              If you invite THE PUBLIC to post on your website using the PUBLIC internet, then you should follow some rules and regulations that are good for the PUBLIC and not just yourself.

                              Assume your logic is the law. If you were to invite the public to post on a Twitter-like service that you own, and you were to refuse hosting White supremacist speech—legally protected speech made by someone from the very public you invited to post—how should the government deal with you?

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                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 10:36pm

                                Re: Re: Re:

                                I think the poster should be able to file a grievance, something like “I tried to speak publicly on a public platform and these nasty bastards refused to let me even though I said nothing wrong.” Maybe there could be a filing fee to keep the riff raff from clogging up the system. If your claim is proven legitimate, you get back your filing fee times ten (from the offender), something like that. If not, you forfeit the filing fee to the organization you filed against.

                                Let the complainers finance it, and let the censors be penalized if they actually suppress free speech. That seems fair.

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                  • icon
                    The Wanderer (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 8:13pm

                    Re:

                    We still have plenty of public lands on which people can gather and talk freely.

                    This is true, but if those lands are not the places where a sufficiently large fraction of "everyone" hangs out, then - under the given premise and sort-of definition - they are not the public square.

                    Please understand: I do recognize the problems which would accompany labeling a privately-owned platform as a public square, and I agree that they are serious and not to be taken lightly.

                    However, I also recognize the problems which would accompany a disappearance of any effective venue for the types of public discussion which once took place in the more traditional public square.

                    I am not convinced as to which set of problems would outweigh the other; it's even possible (or perhaps likely) that neither set of consequences is acceptable.

                    I just don't have a third alternative which avoids both sets of problems. If you have one to propose - aside from declaring that the private platforms in question have not in fact overtaken the public square, implying or outright stating that they never will, and concluding that it's therefore not worth considering the proposition - I'd be very pleased to hear it.

                    (I'm not happy about the aside in that last paragraph, because it assumes and/or implies things about your position and argument which may well not be true. I don't want to spend half an hour rewriting this comment over and over to come up with something I could be happy with, however, especially not at this hour of the evening.)

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                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 9:34pm

                      Re: Re:

                      If you have one to propose - aside from declaring that the private platforms in question have not in fact overtaken the public square, implying or outright stating that they never will, and concluding that it's therefore not worth considering the proposition - I'd be very pleased to hear it.

                      Have privately-owned platforms such as Twitter overtaken the public square? The point is debatable, but for the sake of this discussion, we will asssume they have.

                      But even given that assumption, a looming question still remains: How can the government turn a platform like Twitter into a true public square without either buying the platform and operating it as a public square or violating the First Amendment rights of the platform’s owners and operators?

                      I understand the concerns about the size of platforms like Twitter. I share the concerns about the effects that long-term regular use of those platforms can have on the psychology of their users. (Believe me, I have used Twitter long enough to notice the effect it had/has on me.) I sympathize with concerns about whether these platforms are replacing thoughtful discussion with an Outrage Machine, or whether they have truly replaced the public square. These concerns, however, do not trump the legally-protected rights granted to the owners of those platforms—or any other privately-owned platform, regardless of size. Any “solution” to this issue that encroaches upon those rights is no “solution” at all.

                      So…yeah, I got nothin’. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 9:51pm

                        Re: Re: Re:

                        I dunno - Ma Bell was pretty big too, but things got better for everyone when they were sliced and diced and replaced with a more competitive multi-company market.

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                        • icon
                          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 9:58pm

                          How would you “slice up” Twitter so that there can be more “competition” from other social interaction networks that already compete for attention and traffic with Twitter? What monopoly does Twitter own that must be broken up?

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 10:11pm

                            Re:

                            I dunno - break it up by state, that might be fun. Why not? We did that for the electoral college. Works great.

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                            • icon
                              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 10:21pm

                              break it up by state

                              Would North Carolina!Twitter have to follow rules that South Carolina!Twitter would not? Would Twitter outlets in individual states be forced to operate in ways that current Twitter does not? Who would operate Twitter in each state, and how would they be held accountable to the government?

                              Please, elaborate on the details of your plan. I insist.

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                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 10:32pm

                                Re:

                                Bid it out, like airwaves, let people buy the rights to Twitter, state by state, Maybe split each state-local company into an executive, legislative and judicial branch of the business operation, let them form and enforce and interpret their own rule systems one by one, and let the public elect officers.

                                Open the market and let states compete for the best Tweets and Tweeters. Maybe we could have some area leagues and a national Tweeting Super Bowl, but hey, you’ve gotta stand for the National Anthem, that’s a national rule. And, Tweeting causes less head injuries than the NFL does. (Not totally sure about that).

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                      • icon
                        Uriel-238 (profile), 18 Sep 2018 @ 9:41am

                        The regulation of privately-owned public squares.

                        We have a literal example of the Temple Square, what is a public-access part of the city and regarded as municipal grounds, but as the property itself is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, they like to enforce church sensibilities there.

                        As such it's been the sight of a number of kiss-ins, after a gay couple has been chased off for kissing in public. (PDAs are generally forbidden, but the beat police are more tolerant of affectionate straight couples than gay couples.) So when that happens, the gay community rallys a protest for crowds of gay couples to come to the Temple Square to make out in public.

                        So we actually have a physical example of a privately-owned public square in which the rules set by the private owner are found distasteful by the public. The controversy continues whether or not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the right to enforce its rules on what is its grounds yet is regarded by the city as a public-access park, required to be accessible and hospitable to the public.

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 15 Sep 2018 @ 9:54am

          Re: Re: Re: Simple Answer - Pay Trump

          The internet isn't a place at all; it's a network of computers.

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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Sep 2018 @ 2:39pm

    The re-emergence of antitrust laws

    It'd be nice if the use of antitrust laws to challenge big data (even if such a suit ultimately failed) would lead to the notion that we should use antitrust more often, say, against big cable, airlines, telecoms and all the other companies melding together every merger Monday.

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  • identicon
    Châu, 15 Sep 2018 @ 7:18pm

    Anti Trust Hero

    If Mr. Trump want become anti trust super hero, use law against copyright and patent monopolies.

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 9:40pm

      Re: Anti Trust Hero

      The difference here is that copyright and patent has it’s inspiration in protecting and encouraging individual creative artists. The rest of the activity is the price way pay to encourage innovation by inspired individuals. Certainly, you are not against innovation and better ways to solve problems (are you?). You’re not the Taliban, right?. We all benefit from innovation and new creative solutions to problems and artful expression.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2018 @ 11:12pm

        Re: Re: Anti Trust Hero

        Consider (for a moment) the “monopoly” that copyright and patents grant to actual original artists, and the benefits to the artist:

        As a programmer, when I seek a job, I use copyright law as a negotiating strategy. I can tell my prospective employer that I have price A for work where they have a license and I own the copyright, and I have price B for work where they own the copyright (a work for hire). I can use copyright law to my advantage. Every programmer in the USA can use copyright law to their advantage. And it is a considerable advantage.

        I can even discount my work if my employer (customer) allows me to keep the copyright, and I can use the same work for future customers and future licenses. That’s part of the “art of the deal” that copyright law provides. My customers get a better price (because I can discount based on future customers) and I own a more valuable product, that is, I own the sum of my work for multiple customers. My copyrighted property becomes more and more valuable to me, and customers get a better and better price because of the accumulated income.

        That’s a tangible benefit of copyright law for both producers and consumers, part of the “monopoly” that copyright provides over my own work. I know the pirates on this site advocate copying games and movies and such for free, but copyright has real benefits to both society at large and programmers as individuals. Hard working Americans can make themselves quite wealthy and society can benefit from their hard work at more and more reasonable prices because of copyright and patent law.

        Win-Win: Art of the Deal. That’s copyright and patent law. Stealing other people’s work is a bad idea, it hurts both individual programmers and society at large. We should all be encouraging innovation, not stealing the hard work of others without any recompense. Free (in many cases) is a bad deal, as we are all learning the hard way.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Sep 2018 @ 4:28pm

          I advocate for less restrictive copyright law that, among other things, does not lock up what should be public domain works until well past the lifetime of anyone who was alive when the work was published (including their creators). I advocate for improvements to the DMCA such as stiffer penalties for people who file bogus DMCA claims and a notice-and-counternotice takedown system. I advocate for better education on issues of copyright, which includes teaching the U.S. Supreme Court-backed fact that copyright infringement (i.e., copying) is not theft.

          If anyone here, including me, has ever seriously spoken in favor of piracy, it has been when piracy is one of either two things:

          1. The absolute last resort for getting around technological bullshit (e.g., pirating an ebook because the DRM on the one you legally purchased stopped working), or

          2. The only way to do a genuine public good (e.g., preserving works that would disappear forever if not for piracy).

          You do not need a copyright term that lasts a century to monetize your work now. You do not need a takedown system that takes possibly legal content offline at the mere receipt of a takedown notice to fight legitimate copyright infringement. You especially do not need ignorance of copyright law to exploit copyright for your personal gain.

          If you can explain how all the stances which I have taken in this comment are somehow bad in any way other than “they hurt my feelings”, I cannot wait to hear what you have to say.

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 10:29pm

            Re:

            “You do not need” (a copyright term ... )

            “You do not need” (a takedown system ...)

            Really? I don’t need A, B or C either? You know what I need and what I don’t need?

            Who made you the authority on what i need?

            Racist. Fascist.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 11:58am

              Re: Re:

              You Can (Not) Argue

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 9:40pm

              If you legitimately need a copyright term that lasts twice as long as the average human lifespan (yours included) to monetize your work, I would love to know why.

              If you legitimately need a takedown system such as the current DMCA system to both prevent copyright infringement and monetize your work, I would love to know why.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 2:13am

        Re: Re: Anti Trust Hero

        Noam Chomsky is not going to be on the jury, Hamilton.

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          Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 6:18am

          Re: Re: Re: Anti Trust Hero

          It is entertaining to see the images people like you latch onto. That was a compelling image for you I see. Noam Chomsky on the jury passing verdict on Michael Masnick and Techdirt. I assume you latch onto the image because you know the outcome, yes? Noam has made his opinion clear already, and articulated it in public. No doubt he would do so effecively in the jury room and convince everyone of the legitimacy of Shiva’s claim. That’s the image you see, right? The tide having turned against Michael Masnick and Techdirt, in full force. Financial ruin. Bankruptcy’s galore. That’s what you see, right? You’re compelled to imagine it because you now it is a fateful and just outcome, and Noam is just the guy to drive it over the finish. That’s what you see, right?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 7:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti Trust Hero

            I assume you latch onto the image a judge would never allow, because you have to rely on people of influence to shape the opinion of the jury. What a surprise that you have to rely on bribery!

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              Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 8:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti Trust Hero

              “People of influence”, yes, I would agree with that. Noam Chomsky is a very influencial and clear headed academic, widely respect throughout the world. His opinion has been very clear and very public, he adds a lot of weight to the credibility of Shiva’s argument.

              I am not sure what you mean by “Bribery”, i think Noam was ready to support Shiva just because he knew him, liked him, and agreed with him. I’m not aware of any claims of bribery. I don’t think Noam Chomsky could be easily bribed, he’s famous and successful in his own right, unlike you and me. I think he was giving his honest opinion, in public, and on the record.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 8:27am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti Trust Hero

                The entire idea of having a jury is to have someone without prior opinion on the case. Sure, call Noam as a witness if he has the evidence. What he's not going to be is a juror.

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                  Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 8:35pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti Trust Hero

                  Yes of course you are correct about jurors and prior opinions, and Noam being biased as a witness. As I recall, the entire notion was the premise of a modest joke about Mike having no friends in Massachusetts and Shiva having at least one friend. It was a joke. I already forgot about it, several times, but some AC has been hounding my writing about this particular image maybe a dozen times. It was a joke. I was kidding. You are right Noam being unsuitable as a juror, and only being suitable as a witness. Ok? Enough now?

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 7:18am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti Trust Hero

                    It was a joke. I was kidding.

                    Shiva didn't invent email.

                    There, maybe I was kidding.

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Sep 2018 @ 5:12pm

                His opinion has been very clear and very public, he adds a lot of weight to the credibility of Shiva’s argument.

                Yes or no: Has Noam Chomsky been able to prove that Shiva Ayyadurai’s email program was anything more than an isolated application that was never used outside of the place for which it was built and had no discernible effect on the development of email as we know it today, including the development of the IMAP, POP3, and SMTP protocols that govern all modern email systems?

                • If yes: Damn, would I love to see the citation for that.

                • If no: Chomsky’s opinion on the matter means nothing because it lacks a factual foundation.

                • If you plan to write a paragraph that French kisses Chomsky’s ass and skips answering the direct yes-or-no question at hand: Do not bother; I will neither read nor reply to it.

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 6:47pm

                  Re:

                  I will answer your Yes or No question, just to put you at ease: Yes

                  If you listen to Noam’s personal account of his experience with Shiva and Email, he will make it clear to you that the ideas that first were expressed in Shiva’s Email copyrighted program were exposed to hundreds of direct users, as well as millions of indirect “users” that became familiar with the ideas.

                  Like a stone being thrown into a lake, the ripple effects of the Email program, authored and copyrighted by Shiva, spread through time and space to effect us even today. Witness this thread, which was inspired by an anonymous coward that seems obsessed with this invention from decades and decades ago (hence his question about Noam Chomsky).

                  The fact that this is a debate At All proves it was more than an isolated application. The legend of the invention of Email and the Inventor of Email had widespread worldwide effects which continue today and will continue for years to come.

                  Shiva should be proud of himself for inventing Email.

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                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Sep 2018 @ 7:11pm

                    If you listen to Noam’s personal account of his experience with Shiva and Email, he will make it clear to you that the ideas that first were expressed in Shiva’s Email copyrighted program were exposed to hundreds of direct users, as well as millions of indirect “users” that became familiar with the ideas.

                    [citation needed]

                    …no, really, how can either Chomsky or Ayyadurai definitively prove that a progam that was made in, existed in, and died in utter isolation from literally everything that became modern email was the basis for any single idea that went into modern email? How can they prove that “millions” of people were exposed to the ideas behind that program—ideas which were, at the time, far more known to the world than his thanks to ARPANET? How can they prove that anyone outside of the university where his program was used ever even saw his program until Ayyadurai started making his vanity claim?

                    I need a citation for the facts your statement implies. The burden of proof for a claim lies upon the person who made it; since you made the claim, you are responsible for proving it.

                    the ripple effects of the Email program, authored and copyrighted by Shiva, spread through time and space to effect us even today

                    To prove that, Ayyadurai would have to prove that his program directly inspired someone—anyone—whose work went into the creation of the ARPANET messaging system or the three major email protocols. Everything he has ever said about his program, and every bit of information that is known about him and his program, indicates that he cannot. I do not know how you could do so—but hey, feel free to give it the ol’ dentist university try.

                    Witness this thread, which was inspired by an anonymous coward that seems obsessed with this invention from decades and decades ago (hence his question about Noam Chomsky).

                    Hi, Shiva.

                    The fact that this is a debate At All proves it was more than an isolated application.

                    This one-sided fact-based ass kicking that you call a “debate”, in which you have not brought nor cannot bring any factual citations that back up Ayyadurai’s claims or show that his work had any effect on the development of email as we know it, proves only how Ayyadurai has spent so long whining about not being recognized for something he did not do that everyone who cares has done enough research into the actual facts to deduce that his claims are what they have always been and always will be: ego-driven, vanity-grabbing bullshit.

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                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 7:28pm

                      Re:

                      Well, I think you would agree that most authors and inventors are at least somewhat ego-driven, right? You, for example, you have an ego, right? You are sure of yourself right to your bones, aren’t you? You are so sure that you think your ego and conviction alone should be enough for others to accept your view, regardless of what THEIR view may be.

                      I would just suggest that such an obviously ego-driven, biased and self-serving viewpoint is seldom persuasive. But you probably knew that already, and don’t care at all. That’s why you so often use abusive and disgusting language, too. You just don’t care about anyone but yourself. Even Shiva is more humble than you, and he is not famous for being humble.

                      Ego-driven, vanity-grabbing bullshit. Well said. About you. Especially the part about “shit”, which you are famous for. I counted over 200 times you used the word “shit” in your posts, before I stopped counting.

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                      • icon
                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Sep 2018 @ 7:38pm

                        Re: Re:

                        Well, I think you would agree that most authors and inventors are at least somewhat ego-driven, right?

                        Your rhetorical gimmick will not work on me.

                        You are so sure that you think your ego and conviction alone should be enough for others to accept your view

                        Maybe a little, yeah, although I still have actual facts on my side just in case.

                        I would just suggest that such an obviously ego-driven, biased and self-serving viewpoint is seldom persuasive.

                        I guess that explains why Shiva has never been able to persuade anyone with a working Internet connection, access to Google, and more than two functioning brain cells that his claims are the truth.

                        That’s why you so often use abusive and disgusting language, too. You just don’t care about anyone but yourself.

                        I care about other people and their feelings. You have the unfortunate luck of me not giving a damn about you or yours.

                        I counted over 200 times you used the word “shit” in your posts, before I stopped counting.

                        You might want to see someone about your fecalphilia, honey.

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                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 8:04pm

                          Re: Re: Re:

                          Wait - what did you say? Anyone with a working Internet connection and more than two functioning brain cells? Isn’t that where we started? With Noam Chomsky, I mean. His support would seem to directly contradict your ridiculous argument. Right? Right?

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                          • icon
                            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Sep 2018 @ 8:37pm

                            Given that Chomsky has never cited any fact or offered any evidence that definitively proves Ayyadurai’s work inspired the developers of ARPANET/the IMAP, POP3, and SMTP protocols? Wrong.

                            (For that matter, you have never done that, either.)

                            When you make a serious claim of fact and the facts do not back it up, continuing to make that claim turns you into a liar. Shiva Ayyadurai is a liar. You are a liar if you say his claims are true. Nothing short of a sworn affidavit from a developer who worked on ARPANET/those three protocols that says “the work of Shiva Ayyadurai directly inspired my work” will prove his claims.

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                              identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 10:25pm

                              Re:

                              I see. Your first argument was that no one with at least two brain cells would agree with Shiva. Given the fact that Noam Chomsky has brain cells in excess of two, you have changed your argument that YOU do not agree. You have given up on your first argument, which was ridiculous, and after I pointed out that I was ridiculous, you have introduced a new ridiculous argument about ARPANET.

                              I see.

                              Why are you so vested in this argument, which I did not even bring up? Who cares besides you, Mike and Shiva? Why are you so invested in Mike’s side of this argument? Why go on and on about it with ridiculous claims that are repeatedly proven to be bullshit?

                              Just curious.

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                              • icon
                                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 5:58am

                                after I pointed out that I was ridiculous

                                You said it, not me.

                                a new ridiculous argument about ARPANET

                                That argument is neither new or ridiculous. Ayyadurai’s claim rests on the idea that ARPANET is not the true predecessor to modern email. For the claim to be true, we would have to ignore every fact that says otherwise. This means ignoring both the existence of ARPANET and how no one—including Ayyadurai—can say his work directly impacted or influenced the development of the three email “backbone” protocols. Yes, you already do it (since you have yet to ever directly refute those facts whenever they have been raised), but not everyone is a liar or an enabler of liars.

                                Why are you so vested in this argument, which I did not even bring up?

                                Three reasons:

                                1. I like Techdirt.

                                2. I do not like liars—or their enablers.

                                3. I hate liars who try to bankrupt people for telling the truth.

                                Ayyadurai’s claim to be the sole inventor of modern email is a lie. That alone earns my spite. His lawsuit, filed with the intent to bankrupt Techdirt/Mike Masnick, was(/is) an attempt to turn his lie into the truth by having a court declare it so, facts be damned. That earns my hatred.

                                Your continued defense of his claim (which amounts to ass-kissing surrounded by a bunch of rhetoric that does not and will never directly discuss the facts of the matter) enables him to keep lying because he can point to you and say “someone believes me, so it must be true”. Fuck you, and fuck Shiva, too.

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

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                                  identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 6:43am

                                  Re:

                                  Wait, you don’t think I’m Noam Chomsky in disguise do you?

                                  “Given the term email was not used prior to 1978, and there was no intention to emulate '...a full-scale, inter-organizational mail system," as late as December 1977, there is no controversy here, except the one created by industry insiders, who have a vested interest," Chomsky says.

                                  Ok, I admit it. I said that.

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

                                  • icon
                                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 7:39am

                                    Given the term email was not used prior to 1978

                                    Doesn’t really matter. He could have come up with the term—a doubtful claim, at best—but as the SIGCIS article says, “We acknowledge John Logie Baird as the inventor of TV as well as television, even though he called his machine the Televisor.”

                                    If the ARPANET devs had never come up with the term “email”, the portmanteau was easy enough to figure out from the phrase “electronic mail”, which was widely discussed in the 1970s (and well before Ayyadurai made his program). Even if we accept the notion that Ayyadurai came up with “email” first (and that is a big “if”), he never put the word into the public consciousness; CompuServe, on the other hand, did exactly that in the early 1980s. Inventing something is neat; getting it widely adopted is the far greater accomplishment. Ayyadurai has never proven that he was more responsible for popularizing the term “email” than CompuServe.

                                    there was no intention to emulate '...a full-scale, inter-organizational mail system," as late as December 1977

                                    Doesn’t really matter. The ARPANET messaging system was the legitimate predecessor to modern email; RFC 733 (published in November 1977) laid out the foundation. Ayyadurai’s program, no matter how impressive it may have been for its time, lived and died in isolation and had no effect on the development of email (including the three “backbone” protocols). Ayyadurai himself has never proven otherwise—and you have never even made the attempt.

                                    there is no controversy here

                                    …except for the fact that Ayyadurai is trying to stake a vanity claim on something he had no hand in doing and suing people who call “bullshit” on his claim. (Which makes me wonder why he has yet to sue Thomas Haigh for that SIGCIS article. Then again, truth is the best defense to defamation.)

                                    except the one created by industry insiders, who have a vested interest

                                    “Industry insiders” seem to have a “vested interest” in keeping the history of email as factually correct as possible, which means crediting multiple people, each building off of the work of others, with the development of modern email. Ayyadurai has a “vested interest” in making factually false claims and suing anyone who calls him a liar, but settling or dropping the case before it goes to court so he will never be forced to back up his false claims.

                                    Looks like the “industry insiders” are the group to back in this matter. After all, they are not trying to lie and use the courts to magically turn that lie into the truth.

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

                                    • icon
                                      The Wanderer (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 8:57am

                                      Re:

                                      To be fair, if all he were claiming was a case of independent invention - of something sufficiently close to qualify for the term - that might be legitimate; opinions may differ on how close it was, but the opinion that it was close enough might well be supportable.

                                      If he were going beyond that only as far as to claim to have come up with some aspects of modern E-mail before they were incorporated into the systems which gave us the RFCs underlying the modern E-mail system, that too could be legitimate (depending on the timing of various events, some of which I've forgotten).

                                      His claims don't seem to be limited to that type of independent-invention or first-to-invent, however.

                                      If I remember past articles (etc.) correctly, he seems to be claiming that the modern E-mail system is descended from his work - that he is the one, true original inventor of the system which evolved into what we use today.

                                      And there seems to be zero evidence to support that, and plenty of evidence A: that the modern E-mail system is descended from the work of others, who were not even aware of his work and did not draw on it in any way, and B: that his own work dead-ended and died out after not going very far at all from its origins.

                                      (I'm tempted to draw an analogy to the Wright Brothers, whose work was in some ways a dead end as far as heavier-than-air flight goes, but who are nonetheless famous for having invented the airplane. I'm not sure that analogy would really hold up, however, as their work does at least seem to have inspired those who developed the technology underlying modern flight - whereas those who developed the recorded ancestors of the modern E-mail system don't seem to have been aware of Shiva's work, much less inspired by it.)

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

                                      • identicon
                                        Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 8:03pm

                                        Re: Re:

                                        The thing I always wonder about when people refer to RFCs is the difference between an RFC and an actual executable program that accomplishes a result. RFCs are about the expression of an idea in an abstract way. Programs are about the expression of an idea in a tangible and testable and verifiable way. Do RFCs really equate to executable programs? I’m just not sure about that.

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

                                        • icon
                                          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 10:17pm

                                          Re: Re: Re:

                                          Even if they do not, they lay out principles and express ideas in ways that could easily be turned into programs. The RFC in question in this situation, for example, laid out the general format for messages on the ARPANET system, including form fields and functionality. That format would go on to inspire future messaging systems. Those systems would evolve into what we know today as email.

                                          Ayyadurai’s work was not one of those systems. It was not inspired by, nor did it affect, the work on ARPANET and all subsequent work on what would become email. His program lived and died in isolation; it is little more than a quirky footnote in tech history. If he could prove that his work had any discernible effect on the development of ARPANET/the three "backbone" email protocols, he would have done so already.

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

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                                            identicon
                                            Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 10:24pm

                                            Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                            Well, he invented something, and copyrighted it, that is public record. He has the copyright certificate and the code to prove it. And the name on the certificate is “Email”, that’s public record, too. Seems like he has some kind of claim, even if you personally don’t agree with it. I never understood why people are so hostile towards such a seemingly innocuous claim.

                                            It seems The same people who want to tear down civil war statues and burn limousines and erase history also seem to want to write history using their own interpretation of events and smear anyone who disagrees with them. Radicals all, especially here.

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

                                            • icon
                                              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 10:43pm

                                              Seems like he has some kind of claim, even if you personally don’t agree with it. I never understood why people are so hostile towards such a seemingly innocuous claim.

                                              If he claimed only to have made the program that he made, no one would generally care. His work, while admittedly impressive for the circumstances and the time in which it was made, was not a wholly unique creation. Similar programs were either in development or in use around the same time.

                                              If he claimed only to have a copyright on a program called Email, again, no one would generally care. The portmanteau of “electronic mail” was not that hard to figure out, and electronic messaging programs did not need to be called Email. Similarly, his claim that he was the first person to use the portmanteau is questionable, but granting him the claim gives him only a small vanity claim at best.

                                              Ayyadurai creating what he did, when he did was impressive. No one would argue otherwise if he was claiming only to have done what we know for a fact that he did. But he is claiming things that cannot possibly be true: that he alone invented modern email, that his work alone inspired the development of email, that ARPANET had nothing at all to do with creating email as we know it today. People are hostile to Ayyadurai’s claims because he insists upon the right to a vanity claim that has no basis in reality—and sues people who say as much.

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

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                                                identicon
                                                Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2018 @ 12:47am

                                                Re:

                                                I thought he was suing you for calling him a liar. I have yet to see him lie.

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

                                                • icon
                                                  The Wanderer (profile), 18 Sep 2018 @ 5:02am

                                                  Re: Re:

                                                  So you have not yet seen him claiming any of the things cited in the last paragreph of Stephen's last reply, above?

                                                  that he alone invented modern email, that his work alone inspired the development of email, that ARPANET had nothing at all to do with creating email as we know it today

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

                                  • identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2018 @ 7:41am

                                    Re: Re:

                                    Oh, you're Shiva. There's very little reason for you to vanish after the judge decided the inventor of email couldn't be defined. Kimosahbee.

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

    • identicon
      The Goggles Do Nothing, 16 Sep 2018 @ 11:41am

      Re: Anti Trust Hero

      Thanks a lot - now I have this image in my head of Trump wearing spandex - Ewwww.

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

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 15 Sep 2018 @ 11:43pm

    Don’t Worry, Dear Persecuted Illiberals ...

    ... Trump is from the Government, and he’s here to help you.

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

  • identicon
    some guy inthe wht hse, 16 Sep 2018 @ 7:58am

    quotes from the past

    I want to not use too many executive orders, folks. … Obama, because he couldn’t get anybody to agree with him, he starts signing them like they’re butter. So I want to do away with executive orders for the most part.

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

  • icon
    nasch (profile), 16 Sep 2018 @ 8:12am

    he starts signing them like they’re butter.

    Like they're... butter? Does one sign butter a lot?

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

  • identicon
    Digitari, 16 Sep 2018 @ 11:55am

    bait and switch

    In Michigan, we have laws against " bait and switch ". If you claim to be "open to all" when in fact, you are not. That is fraud.. in Michigan.

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


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