Techdirt Podcast Episode 216: Hawley's Bill Sucks: Let Us Count The Ways...

from the and-there-are-plenty-of-ways dept

Josh Hawley's bill that aims to force "political neutrality" on social media platforms has caused a lot of stir for something so obviously unconstitutional and doomed to failure. There are so many problems with the bill that we've got three experts this week — Daphne Keller, Jeffrey Koseff, and Aaron Mackey — to help dig into all the ways this attack on Section 230 sucks.

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Filed Under: josh hawley, podcast, section 230, social media


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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 25 Jun 2019 @ 1:13pm

    I just have to wonder. If it's "so obviously unconstitutional and doomed to failure" then... why bother? Why spend so much time and effort worrying about it if you believe it's "so obviously" never going to amount to anything?

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 25 Jun 2019 @ 1:32pm

      Re:

      I just have to wonder. If it's "so obviously unconstitutional and doomed to failure" then... why bother? Why spend so much time and effort worrying about it if you believe it's "so obviously" never going to amount to anything?

      Because Congress pushes unconstitutional bullshit like this, sometimes it still passes and then we have to waste years/money/time/resources to get a court to dismiss it.

      Separately, because it's moving the window on these issues, and while his bill might not make it through, we should make it clear why these bills are bad and problematic so that when others try they at least understand the issues, unlike Hawley.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Jun 2019 @ 3:38pm

        Re: Re:

        Sorry, but it's neither unconstitutional nor will it go anywhere.

        Or did you miss what Project Veritas just dropped a few days ago about Google flat-out admitting they want to meddle in elections and screw with stuff?

        Regulation is coming.

        And it can't be stopped.

        Those who make peaceful discussion impossible make violent revolution inevitable.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2019 @ 2:28pm

        Re: Re:

        Hey, Mike, do you remember Aaron Swartz?

        Remember what he said before his death?

        He feared corporate censorship more than government censorship. Because corporations didn't have to answer to the people like the government does.

        If he were alive today, he'd be labeled a Conservative for defending free speech and being against tech censorship.

        Btw, you are arguing that the Civil Rights Act is unconstitutional you know?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jun 2019 @ 2:47pm

    diversity and inclusion

    Without even looking, I'd be willing to bet a small fortune that every single one of those "experts" that Techdirt picked to give an opinion on this divisive left/right issue is going to be a leftist Democrat who favors heavy-handed government intervention in numerous other ways.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jun 2019 @ 3:22pm

      Re: diversity and inclusion

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jun 2019 @ 3:57pm

      Re: diversity and inclusion

      "who favors heavy-handed government intervention"

      Like forcing a website to host material they would rather not?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jun 2019 @ 4:06pm

      Re: What’s the name of our escrow company again?

      Without even looking, I'd be willing to bet you couldn’t tell The Constitution from a hole in the ground. And that you look at every issue through the lens of what benefits your party instead of say is this idea legal and also beneficial to the majority of Americans. And the you favour heavy government intervention so long as it punishes “the other.”

      But I’d have to be pretty cynical to think you’re dumb enough to run your mouth without at least putting up a down payment on the check it just wrote.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jun 2019 @ 3:27pm

    It is interesting that the "freedom of speech" justices in the big decision last week were all generally described as "conservative" or "right-wing". And, as the last article on Hawley's Folly mentioned, there is considerable "conservative" opposition to it, both in Congress and in the press.

    However, in this context, I would really like to have seen more of what the "leftist/statist" wing of the Supreme Court said in dissent. Assuming there was something other than a pervasive need to give courts more control over legal everyday citizen activity--any major misunderstanding of the tech that needs to be addressed by more education?

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 25 Jun 2019 @ 5:23pm

      Re:

      As I understand it, (based upon a comment from the original article), the dissent was basically due to the justices in question not agreeing that the platform in question wasn't a government platform, and instead believing that it was and as such would have been restrained just the same as the government with regards to the first amendment.

      As pointed out in that comment how the dissent was worded is important, as it notes that 'Kavanaugh’s opinion “tells a very reasonable story about a case that is not before us.”, which would seem to indicated that even the dissenting judges agree with the logic being applied, they just don't agree that it should apply in that specific example due to not agreeing that the platform in question isn't a government one.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 25 Jun 2019 @ 6:00pm

    Stop using the opposition's wording

    230 is not a 'gift' to online companies.

    230 is not a 'gift' to the internet.

    230 is not a 'gift' to intermediaries.

    230 is applying the same standards that offline companies get to online companies, in that you can't go after the company and/or platform for what a customer/user does with/on it, and instead have to go after the actual guilty party.

    Phrasing 230 as a 'gift' gives the impression that it's something extra, a special protection that online companies get, which opens up the idea that taking it away would merely be evening the playing field when in fact doing so would be holding online companies to a higher standard than offline companies, anything but a level playing field.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Jun 2019 @ 6:20pm

      Re: Stop using the opposition's wording

      It's funny how the same idiots who demand that "online theft" or "online defamation" be punished the same way as their offline counterparts consistently refuse to give the same sort of procedure that the analog equivalents get.

      Okay, it's not so much "funny" as opposed to "facepalmingly stupid".

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 25 Jun 2019 @ 6:34pm

        Re: Re: Stop using the opposition's wording

        Anyone who tries to argue that copyright infringement is equivalent to theft should be faced with the question of whether or not it should be treated as theft, something I imagine many would object to as they only want the emotional baggage the word carries, not the legal constraints.

        No more 'accusation = guilt', you have to demonstrate an actual loss, and if you run around accusing people falsely there would be a penalty for it.

        No more insane fines and/or threats of fines of hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands, if someone 'steals' a movie then the fine would be in the double-digits at most.

        I rather suspect that if faced with the possibility that calling copyright infringement theft would mean it would be treated as theft a good many of those doing so would, for completely unrelated reasons, decide that nah, maybe 'theft' isn't the right word after all.

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


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