Andrew Yang's Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Tech Policy

from the did-you-hire-josh-hawley-to-write-your-policy? dept

Andrew Yang has been a bit of a surprise Presidential candidate this year, and is often described as a former "tech exec" or "Silicon Valley's presidential candidate". The "tech exec" claim seems a bit exaggerated, as he was a lawyer, and then ran a test prep company before a non-profit. Still, he got lots of attention for being a bit wonky and at least speaking the language of tech. His main claim to fame has been to support Universal Basic Income of $1,000/month which is a popular idea here in Silicon Valley.

However, the more we hear from Yang about his tech policy ideas, the more ridiculous and completely disconnected from the actual tech world he seems. He got a lot of flak a couple months back when he advocated for voting via your mobile device via blockchain which he declared to be "fraud proof." This was universally mocked by security professionals and cryptocurrency experts, including one who described the proposal as "unbelievably dumb."

So, his pro-tech campaign had already hit some choppy waters, and they got much, much worse last week when he introduced his official policy for regulating technology firms that is so filled with bad ideas that I initially thought it was a parody. It may be the single worst tech policy proposal of any current or former candidate for President (and, frankly, nearly all of them are pretty bad). It's as if he took all the terrible ideas that Senator Josh Hawley has been proposing over the last year or so and said "Oh, I can top all of those with worse proposals."

Let's go through the details one by one.

Regulate the use of data and privacy by establishing data as a property right. The associated rights will enable individuals to retain ownership and share in the economic value generated by their data.

No, no, no, no. I'd been meaning to write a separate blog post for a while about this, but there are a few folks out there pushing for the idea that "data" should now be considered a form of "intellectual property," with the originator holding some sort of property right over it. It's a horrible idea. Take two horribly misunderstood and abused areas -- intellectual property law and privacy -- and awkwardly mash them together and pretend it will actually help? Come on. If we've learned anything about trying to build property rights over information, it's that it creates all sorts of awful unintended consequences. Adding those to data will make them much worse.

I mean, given how many copyright, patent, and trademark trolls already exist, aren't folks super excited about the ability to soon deal with data or privacy trolls as well? It'll be a real blast. But what it won't do is actually protect anyone's privacy. Nor will it allow them to "share in the economic value generated by their data." That's now how any of this actually works. In fact, you already share in the economic value generated by your data by getting to use all the amazing services you already use. Charging for the data doesn't open that up. In fact, it's likely to close it down.

Minimize health impacts of modern tech on our people, particularly our children. I will create a Department of the Attention Economy that focuses on smartphones, social media, gaming, and apps, and how to responsibly design and use them, including age restrictions and guidelines.

A "Department of the Attention Economy"? What the fuck is that I don't even.... And, again, this sounds exactly like Josh Hawley's desire to appoint himself the product manager for the internet, by determining exactly how various apps and services must be designed. What makes Yang think that some bureaucrats are going to know how to do this well? Also, while I get that there are potentially reasonable concerns about how various apps and services are used, much of it still smacks of moral panics. Would Yang have created a special new regulatory agency to regulate rock and roll back in the 60s, determining age restrictions and guidelines for what kinds of songs were okay?

Stop the spread of misinformation that is eroding trust in our institutions and fanning the flames of polarization in our society. I will scale up VAT on digital ads to hasten a shift away from ad-driven business models, require disclosures on all ads, regulate bot activity, and regulate algorithms, addressing the grey area between publishers and platforms.

How do you stop the spread of misinformation without violating the 1st Amendment? Can someone ask Yang that? And if he thinks that "digital ads" are the problem, or that a VAT will somehow stop such misinformation, he's even more disconnected from the reality of how tech works than I had previously imagined. Finally, that line "addressing the grey area between publishers and platforms" is a nod to the made up nonsense by a bunch of conservative trolls pretending that there's some legal distinction between a publisher and a platform. There isn't. There isn't a legal grey area. The law is quite clear and the courts have had no problem in understanding the issues. It's just a bunch of trolls -- usually the folks spreading misinformation -- who like to pretend there's some grey area.

In the details to this plan, Yang dumps on Section 230, because of course he does:

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act14 absolves platforms from all responsibility for any content published on them. However, given the role of recommendation algorithms—which push negative, polarizing, and false content to maximize engagement—there needs to be some accountability.

That "14" actually is a footnote to the EFF's page about 230 that debunks Yang's blatantly false claim that Section 230 "absolves platforms from all responsibility for any content published on them." It does not and never has. It simply places the legal liability on whoever created the content. Which is a sensible and reasonable thing. And, even then, it only immunizes platforms from certain types of liability on certain types of content, not "any content published on them."

Indeed, it's once again ironic that someone pointing to Section 230 as being a problem because of misinformation being spread online... is spreading blatantly false information about Section 230. Yang's actual "proposal" for 230 is also pretty much a 404 error:

Amend the Communications Decency Act to reflect the reality of the 21st century— that large tech companies are using tools to act as publishers without any of the responsibility.

What does that even mean? If anyone thinks that the large tech companies have no responsibility, they haven't been paying attention and literally have no clue what they're talking about. Apparently Yang has no clue what he's talking about.

Adopt a 21st century approach to regulation that increases the knowledge and capacity of government while using new metrics to determine competitiveness and quickly identifies emerging tech in need of regulation.

Out of the four key "prongs" of his proposal, this is the only one that touches on an idea that makes sense. We've talked quite a lot about increasingly the knowledge and capacity of government, but the latter half of the prong should raise eyebrows. He acts as if any emerging area of tech is "in need of regulation." How 'bout we use this new knowledge and capacity to actually explore if regulation is needed, before rushing in to focus in on regulating every new area of tech. Given how many emerging areas of innovation tend to be threatened or stifled by overregulation, the fact that Yang's approach seems to be regulate everything as soon as it emerges, should be disqualifying.

And even here, nearly all the details are odd. He does support bringing back the Office of Technology Assessment, which is good, but then he goes into a weird and nonsensical idea of creating a "Department of Technology" and making it a Cabinet level agency. This smacks of the idiotic days in the early 2000s when every company would appoint a "Chief Digital Officer," as if "digital" were its own silo like marketing or finance or human resources. As we explained back in the time where Yang was tutoring people to take their GMATs, thinking digitally isn't a separate job function. These days it permeates all jobs, all government, and all society. Siloing it into a special new department makes no sense. Sure, get everyone in government more knowledgeable and tech literate, but that doesn't require a whole new Department, which suggests only it needs to understand tech.

Hopefully we can no get everyone to admit that Yang is not quite the tech savvy "former tech exec" that the media likes to pretend he is. For what it's worth, I sent Yang's proposal to a close friend in the tech industry who had been a vocal Yang supporter, and got back a text saying "WTF? Not even one point is good. It's like he doesn't know tech at all." Yup.

Filed Under: andrew yang, attention economy, data, intellectual property, privacy, section 230, tech policy


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 9:52am

    On the bright side, Yang doesn't stand much of a chance at winning the nomination from the Democrats. This plan would probably put him in the running for a Republican nomination, though.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 9:54am

    If the only harm committed by publication were from the publisher, we never would have needed Section 230 in the first place, since there'd be nothing to immunize the DISTRIBUTOR from.

    If someone defames a person on 4Chan, they commit one harm, but when an employer searches for the person during an application process a second, separate harm is committed by the search engine for spreading it. Every other country recognizes distributor liability, and the US used to. 230 immunity makes it possible to weaponize search engines. Since its harm has extended to "important" people the law is going to be abolished, as it should be. Combined with making doxing a federal crime, individuals who have been harmed by either will now have legal redress.

    As for basic income, it would cause hyperinflation that would destroy our economy once everyone is hooked on it, resulting in disaster and bitcoin becoming the national currency.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 9:56am

      separate harm is committed by the search engine for spreading it

      Please cite a single court case in which this logic was not only accepted by the courts, but turned into actual legal precedent upon which other similar cases could rely.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 9:59am

        Re:

        It's called "distributor liability" and it's existed in the US for almost two hundred years. Anyone with an IQ over 40 should be able to see the separate harm that is inflicted.

        The court cases (not single) are all over the world, and even in the US prior to 230. Many lawyers have argued about the increase damage caused by defamation in the era of search engines. Unlike print publications, digital can be altered at any time, so it's much more practical to eliminate things like the single-publication rule.

        I've already cited cases from AUS where search engines lost, so there are your "court cases."

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:03am

          Re: Re:

          AUS courts have no jurisdiction in the US. Try again.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:22am

            Re: Re: Re:

            Has nothing to do with jurisdiction, but recognizing the separate harm inflicted by search engines who spread defamation.

            The US immunizes that separate harm with Section 230, a law that recognizes the harm and decides that no individual harmed in this way should be able to sue those who inflict the separate harm (the search engines).

            Female victims of revenge porn are well aware of this. Look up Maryanne Franks.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:28am

              Has nothing to do with jurisdiction, but recognizing the separate harm inflicted by search engines who spread defamation.

              Then surely you can cite a case from the United States in which the courts not only accepted that logic, but turned it into legal precedent.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 11:49am

              Re: Re:....

              “Who spread defamation”

              You spreads defaming things everytime you talk. In court it would be hearsay. Online it is hearsay. Same thing for everyone, if you dont have facts. All you have is politics.

              Now say I defamed you. Funny enough there’s a difference between a crime and offense. It’s called proof.

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

            • icon
              bhull242 (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 10:13am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Jurisdiction is everything here. Even if an Australian court recognizes a certain harm, that doesn’t matter to us if the U.S. does not. Not every jurisdiction in the world agrees on every single possible theory of harm.

              And even if you’re right, X caused harm =/= X should be held [or is] liable for such harm. In the U.S., we have stronger protections for speech and journalism besides §230, and it’s questionable whether the harm you articulate would be considered grounds for liability here, even if the harm itself was recognized.

              Also, you previously said this:

              It's called "distributor liability" and it's existed in the US for almost two hundred years. Anyone with an IQ over 40 should be able to see the separate harm that is inflicted.
              The court cases (not single) are all over the world, and even in the US prior to 230.

              Here, you made a particular claim about US court cases. Australian court cases couldn’t possibly back up that specific claim. You need to cite US court cases for this proposition.

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

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 1:08am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "You need to cite US court cases for this proposition."

                Even then, he'd have to explain why they're still relevant. Even he admits that section 230 has overridden the prior case law. It's like watching someone cite Prohibition-era case law as a reason why current alcohol-related legislation is wrong. It has been rendered moot by the legal decisions made since.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:06am

          Many lawyers have argued about the increase damage caused by defamation in the era of search engines.

          Please cite a single court case in which those arguments were not only accepted by the courts, but turned into actual legal precedent upon which other similar cases could rely.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:21am

            Re:

            https://www.theguardian.com/law/2012/nov/26/google-defamation-libel-australia

            There you go.

            230 immunizes this harm, and wouldn't need to exist if it weren't a separate harm.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:27am

              Australian courts have no bearing on American laws. Cite a case from the United States, please.

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

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 2:13am

              Re: Re:

              Australia is almost globally acknowledged to be terribly bad at any laws impacting online freedom.

              Do you have any example from any other place in the civilized world where "libel" was pursued to as hilarious an end as that?

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

            • icon
              bhull242 (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 10:18am

              Re: Re:

              That is not evidence that such would be accepted in the U.S. if not for §230. Australian court cases have no precedential value here, so it can’t be used as evidence that §230 alone prevents such a theory of harm from being recognized in the U.S.

              Furthermore, §230 also prevents direct liability for the original harm, not just this “separate harm” you’re talking about. It also prevents moderation efforts from adding liability where none would exist otherwise. So there are reasons for §230 to exist regardless of whether there is such a separate harm.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 11:03am

            Re:

            I see no reason why Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy Services Co. wouldn't have applied to search engines, had CDA 230 not made it moot within a year. It is known that Google moderates its search results.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 11:12am

              CDA 230 overrode Stratton v Prodigy; your point is meaningless. Cite a case post-230.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 11:24am

                Re:

                It’s like you are a college groundskeeper and he’s a drunken frat trying to steal the goalposts and hang them over at Cry Chi Lies frat house.

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

            • icon
              James Burkhardt (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 11:56am

              Re: Re:

              CDA 230 exists because of the Prodigy ruling. When we say that CDA 230 was written to encourage moderation, the prodigy ruling is the reason CDA 230 exists, because under Prodigy the only ways to avoid liability for user speech are to never moderate or to never host user speech and congress literally wrote a law to avoid a perverse incentive system.

              To cite that case as a reason to recognize "distributor liability" is to literally ignore that congress thought the case was ruled wrong and wrote a law to overturn the court decision.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 2:11am

              Re: Re:

              "had CDA 230 not made it moot within a year"

              So, you admit that your supposed precedent has no relevance to current law? I'm glad you agree.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:40am

          Re: Re:

          You did not answer the question

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 11:44am

          Re: Re:....

          You know what your problem is?
          You think platforms are publishers when they do things you don’t don’t like.
          And your second is.
          That platforms can’t be held liable for speech you don’t like anymore then people in RL can because A: they aren’t journalist B your still an idiot who does not understand basic speech fundamentals because you only understand political fundamentals and the two are now in conflict with each other in Your Head.

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

      • icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 12:57pm

        Re:

        Please cite a single court case in which this logic was not only accepted by the courts, but turned into actual legal precedent upon which other similar cases could rely.

        If this commenter were (a) not a troll and (b) actually knowledgeable, he might actually cite Smith v. California, which established some basic frameworks around "distributor liability" for bookstores. Some have argued that, absent CDA 230, the rules for liability on the internet likely would have followed the framework in that case, in which "knowledge" on the part of the distributor could create a level of liability.

        But, I'm not sure the commenter knows or cares about that case, and if he does, it doesn't do a very good job making his case, because of the strong 1st amendment limits to liability associated with that ruling. But, that's really the case he probably means when he pretends that "distributor liability" would be something wholly different.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 10:53pm

          Re: Re:

          Did you seriously expect Smith to cite "Smith"? That's copyright infringement!

          (Well, okay, it doesn't involve copyright and even if it did, a single citation would be "fair use", but "fair use" does not exist in Jhon boi's world.)

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:39am

      Re:

      "separate harm is committed by the search engine"

      • Would you please define what you think the word "harm" means in this context. All the search engine does is report what it finds out there in weblandia, that is why it is called a search engine. If you want returns other than what is presently being provided you could easily change your search terms. There is some wisdom to not shooting the messenger, or in this case the search engine.

      "Every other country recognizes distributor liability"

      • Every single one of them? Is that so ....

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

      • icon
        Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 7:34am

        Re: Re:

        I'm still waiting for an example of a lawsuit against 4Chan, which is where the alleged damage is done, or something.

        Assume someone read something horrible about someone on 4Chan because it showed up in the search results. First of all, anyone stupid enough to take that cesspit seriously deserves a good kicking. Secondly, what harm could be done? Someone taking it seriously?

        I've already discussed at length my own real experience of being defamed online by a troll. tl:dr; since my bosses either at the time or afterwards didn't take it seriously, no harm befell me and I even got promoted. Since no harm was done and it's being ignored, there's no grounds for suit.

        That Trollio Mylitis here keeps on flogging the scattered fly-blown bones of that flippin' horse despite my documented evidence that he's talking crap is proof that he's just spamming, he has no real argument.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 10:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Not sure anyone on 4chan can be harmed any more than they have already done to themselves /s

          I read a lot of claims about the harm but I have yet to come across anything that attempts to define it. If left ambiguous, the courts will be filled with nonsensical suits over trivial crap because some people have a get rich quick scheme. I imagine that cases where real harm has occurred will be lost in the commotion.
          I do wonder why existing laws are inadequate and thusly providing excuses to create additional vague laws.

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 12:29pm

            Not sure anyone on 4chan can be harmed any more than they have already done to themselves

            You joke, but that’s kinda true. 4chan regulars expose themselves to so much bullshit that continuing to use the site is like a form of self-harm. (I speak, sadly, from experience.)

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

            • icon
              Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 2:35am

              Re:

              All true, Stephen.

              AC, real harm is done if someone spreads lies about you on the internet or whatever, and they are considered to be credible and true, resulting in a loss of earnings, etc., when you're fired from your job. Had I been temping and not full-time permanently employed and long out of probation, I'd have been sent home that day. Had my bosses been less friendly towards me, I'd have been subject to disciplinary action, which would have impacted my promotion prospects.

              So then, being denied opportunities or being fired would have been a real, actionable harm. Tracking down the troll and holding him responsible would have been an uphill task at best. If, as I suspect, he was not resident in the UK, I'd have had to take my lumps and manage as best I could.

              Something similar happened some years before when I was dismissed from a temporary role due to trolls spreading crap about me. Long story short, the agency held up my holiday pay and tried to deny it to me but I took them to a tribunal. A few days before the case was due to be heard I got my money so I cancelled it. That's why I freaked out when it happened again, and the troll contacted my employer directly. I don't like being poor, it sucks.

              Despite those experiences I'm in favour of Section 230 protecting platforms from liability as it is the troll alone who is responsible for his conduct, and the troll alone who is liable. What a loser he must be to spend his life looking for people to attempt to ruin!

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 9:56am

    Amend the Communications Decency Act to reflect the reality of the 21st century— that large tech companies are using tools to act as publishers without any of the responsibility.

    What does that even mean? If anyone thinks that the large tech companies have no responsibility, they haven't been paying attention and literally have no clue what they're talking about. Apparently Yang has no clue what he's talking about.

    It means that Section 230 was written to protect ISPs that did not censor or influence content, such as AOL's e-mail or message board system. It was never designed for politically biased companies to shield them from that bias. A platform is neutral and anyone can use it, while a publisher steers either its own or other content towards its audience.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:02am

      Re:

      If S230 were abolished you would not be able to post your flavor of misinformed disinformation.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:03am

        Re: Re:

        Slanted arguments are a basic debate flaw you have just committed.

        AUS and UK have no Section 230, yet somehow there are comment sections on publications in those countries. How is this possible?

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:04am

          Australian laws and UK laws have no bearing on the laws of the United States.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:44am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "AUS and UK have no Section 230, yet somehow there are comment sections on publications in those countries. How is this possible?"

          Very good example of a logical fallacy, will this be on the test?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          “Slanted arguments are a basic debate flaw you have just committed.”

          Classic jhon, projecting so hard you gonna get sued by IMAX.

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

        • icon
          blademan9999 (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 4:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I've regularly seen "for legal reasons we are not accepting comments on this article on the daily mail.
          I wonder why...

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 5:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Because that looks better than

            "We know this article will cause a shit storm, and so we are not allowing comments".

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 6:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Since it's the Daily Mail, it's probably "we made the whole story up to stir up outrage in our less curious readership, and the resulting ad revenue is at risk if people are allowed to immediately correct us with facts".

            But, other reasons are likely too.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:03am

      No platform requires neutrality to exist. That rule especially applies to privately owned platforms. You can set up a soapbox in your yard and invite the general public to use it, but you're not legally required to let some asshole fascist yell out Nazi propaganda.

      And by the by, 230 was written to protect interactive web services from legal liability for moderating speech—i.e., to specifically undo the court ruling in Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy Services Co. Look up what the people who wrote 230 had to say about their intent if you think I’m lying.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:05am

        Re:

        No platform requires neutrality to exist. That rule especially applies to privately owned platforms. You can set up a soapbox in your yard and invite the general public to use it, but you're not legally required to let some asshole fascist yell out Nazi propaganda.

        Nor is the government required to immunize those sites with 230, which actually undoes libel laws against distributors (who are distinct from publishers). Those who want to call themselves a PLATFORM, however, should be content-neutral, as the ones for whom Section 230 was created were.

        Individuals and businesses can be destroyed by search results. You can call that an acceptable loss, but don't pretend the harm doesn't exist.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:12am

          Nor is the government required to immunize those sites with 230

          [citation needed]

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:16am

            Re:

            Actually one would need the citation to show why this immunity MUST be granted and can't be taken away, as it's not in the constitution.

            Aww "Stephen" you're feeling kinda TRIGGERERD today.

            So many other buttons I could push but watching this unfold over time is going to be epic.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:22am

              one would need the citation to show why this immunity MUST be granted

              It’s called “Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act”, which is the law.

              Aww "Stephen" you're feeling kinda [annoyed] today.

              Two things.

              1. The original context for “triggered” referred to PTSD triggers, not to upset/angry/negative feelings, so your alt-right bullshit means nothing to me when I can see past it.

              2. Even if I am annoyed with you, so what? That’s no different than any other day when you slither out of your hole and puke all over this site, you creep.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:48am

              Re: Bring it on motherfucker

              Aww "Jhon" you're feeling kinda TRIGGERERD today.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 12:02pm

              Re: Re:....

              “As it’s not in the constitution”

              Niether is the word freedom.

              You have nothing to fight with.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 12:59pm

              Re: Re:

              Actually one would need the citation to show why this immunity MUST be granted and can't be taken away, as it's not in the constitution.

              The First Amendment says hi and that you're an idiot.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 2:14am

              Re: Re:

              "it's not in the constitution"

              I love the fact that you're leaning on the US Constitution here, but elsewhere you ignore US law and try citing UK and Australian law to pretend you have a point than can override the law of the US.

              I know it's impossible to be honest about what you're saying here, but at least try to be logically consistent within your own argumebnt.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 3:27pm

          Re: Re:

          This fallacial distinction you're trying to make between platforms and distributors is akin to suing you because someone you don't even know placed a sign defaming me on the telephone pole in front of your house (yes, you're legally responsible for maintaining that space in front of your house). That's all the various platforms are: Internet bulletin boards where random people can post whatever they like, within the law. Are you saying that you should be held legally responsible for whatever is stapled to that telephone pole?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 11:30am

      Re:

      It means that Section 230 was written to protect ISPs that did not censor or influence content, such as AOL's e-mail or message board system

      No, it wasn't. It was written to protect ISPs that did censor content, like Prodigy. Cubby v. CompuServe already established that ISPs that didn't review postings were protected precisely because they didn't review. 230 came about because people acknowledged that it was dumb to penalize a company for trying to care about what got posted on their service.

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

    • icon
      Cdaragorn (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 2:57pm

      Re:

      Literally none of this nonsense is true.

      S230 was built to do the EXACT OPPOSITE of this. It was built expressly to protect biased companies and individuals in order to allow and encourage everyone to censor and influence content. Because we want them to do what the government is expressly forbidden from doing: encourage those using their platforms to speak to not run off with speech we generally consider poor or bad for a variety of reasons.

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 10:27am

      Re:

      The case that provided the impetus for §230 imposed liability on an ISP solely on the grounds that it moderated content. §230 was specifically meant allow ISPs to “censor or influence content” like this. The authors of §230 have also recently come out and specifically said that they intended for even politically biased companies to be shielded.

      As for this distinction between platform and publisher, no part of §230 or the relevant case law has ever made such a distinction, and again, the authors specifically repudiated that idea when applying §230. There is absolutely no requirement in §230 that even suggests that an ISP must be “neutral” to qualify for immunity.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:04am

    Point-blank question for Mike Masnick: do you post comments to this site under a username that does not make clear that it is you in disguise?

    If he answers, he's making an affirmative claim in commerce, so he certainly wouldn't LIE. If he doesn't answer, well...

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:05am

      Why can’t you go shit up an anti-vaxxer forum? (We’ve already got one of theirs lurking around here, the least we can do is trade one of our trolls for one of theirs.)

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:07am

        Re:

        Wow someone's really rude.

        Mike gets credit for trying to pick a fight with me because that's what he's doing when he allows this. A fight he started.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:13am

          Wow someone's really rude.

          You’re a troll; I'm not obliged to be nice to you. Be grateful that I’m even responding to you, shithead.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:14am

            Re:

            You do seem obligated to hide behind a monitor when doing it like any internet coward.

            Masnick is now considered the source of any abusive postings here.

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:16am

              You do seem obligated to hide behind a monitor when doing it like any internet coward.

              Well I can’t very well visit you in real life, seein’ as how nobody knows (or cares) who you are behind your monitor.

              Speaking of which: You didn’t seem to have a problem with hiding behind a monitor when you threatened to have horrible things done to Mike and his family, so…maybe ease off the hypocrisy there, champ.

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

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:18am

                Re:

                *You do seem obligated to hide behind a monitor when doing it like any internet coward.

                Well I can’t very well visit you in real life, seein’ as how nobody knows (or cares) who you are behind your monitor.*

                You don't know who knows who I am or does not, though you'd be too scared to talk like that to anyone IRL. You certainly wouldn't talk to my lawyer like that.

                Speaking of which: You didn’t seem to have a problem with hiding behind a monitor when you threatened to have horrible things done to Mike and his family, so…maybe ease off the hypocrisy there, champ.

                Except I never made any such threats, though a claim that I did would be defamatory if not addressed to a pseudonym.

                That you are a big-mouthed internet coward, however, is now self-evident.

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

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:25am

                  Except I never made any such threats, though a claim that I did would be defamatory if not addressed to a pseudonym.

                  Seems like you’re implicitly admitting to make such threats, then. Why else would you bring up pseudonyms?

                  Also, defamation only applies if it’s believable. I could say “the Anonymous Coward who posted a comment on Techdirt at 10:18am PST on the 18th of November 2019 literally eats Bob Murray's shit and vomits it back up to feed vultures” and you couldn’t do a goddamn thing about it.

                  Speaking of which: The Anonymous Coward who posted a comment on Techdirt at 10:18am PST on the 18th of November 2019 literally eats Bob Murray's shit and vomits it back up to feed vultures. 😁

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:36am

                    Re:

                    And here we see the true colors. Very sad.

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 7:09pm

                      Re: Re:

                      If you were that serious about stopping all the "attacks" on "your good name" you'd have gone through with that press release and police investigation to squash us maggots... but you haven't.

                      If you were that concerned about your reputation - or anyone's reputation, since you've used the "this isn't about me" excuse while defending yourself before - you'd have gone the Shiva Ayyadurai route. But you haven't.

                      Because doing so - assuming that anything you say is accurate and not a steaming pile of horse manure - would require putting your actual identity on police forms and legal documents.

                      It's always funny that in the era of the Trump presidency, anonymous nobodies still think "somebody else anonymous was rude to me" counts as any meaningful, never mind legal, gotcha moment.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:58am

                  Re: Re:

                  Bro you made those threats. Hell I printed out your threats to rape me and made a nice floor mat of it for my shitter. You’re an impotent coward and we all know it.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:54am

              Re: Can’t we at least dance to a new tune bro?

              Let’s run down the impotent threat checklist.

              1. Claim this is now a legal matter and put a hold on this thread for “evidence”

              2. Threaten to sure

              3. Threaten to call the media

              4. Threaten to call the cops, FBI CIA etc.

              5. Google stalk the people responding to you

              6. Insult anyone calling you out for 1-5.

              7. Threaten to rape and/assault anyone who responds to 6.

              8 go back to 1.

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

            • icon
              bhull242 (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 10:30am

              Re: Re:

              On what grounds?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 11:04am

          Re: Re:

          Bro you’re still here after you promised to leave just like all the other bitch ass trolls. You’re the one who’s picked a fight. And gonna lose this one just like you lost the last three. Getting blinds drunk and making a host of nasty, actual “not protected speech” threats against people who would break you in half of you were less entertaining and more annoying.

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

        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 10:30am

          Re: Re:

          Not doing anything to stop someone from being rude to you is neither trying to pick a fight or start a fight. The only person doing either here is you.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:09am

        Re:

        Point-blank question for Mike Masnick: do you post comments to this site under a username that does not make clear that it is you in disguise?

        If he answers, he's making an affirmative claim in commerce, so he certainly wouldn't LIE. If he doesn't answer, well...

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 11:00am

          Re:

          Well what? Your gonna make another impotent threat bro? Or are you gonna cry and lie some more?

          Or both?

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

        • identicon
          Rocky, 18 Nov 2019 @ 1:24pm

          Re: Re:

          How you stopped kicking puppies yet?

          If you don't answer, well...

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

        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 10:33am

          Re: Re:

          This is a leading question that shouldn’t be treated seriously without some strong evidence to make suspicions warranted. Mike has no good reason to answer such a question, and there’s nothing suspicious about refusing to dignify such a question with a response.

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

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 12:26pm

      Re:

      "If he doesn't answer, well..."

      You've proven exactly nothing. Thanks for playing, genius!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 1:04pm

      Re:

      Point-blank question for you: who cares?

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 3:18pm

      Re:

      Point-blank question for Mike Masnick: do you post comments to this site under a username that does not make clear that it is you in disguise?

      This has to be my favorite idiot troll tactic -- to demand that people answer some question in what you believe is some sort of "proof trap." No one need play along with your conspiracy theory games, but just for fun I will note that I have just this login and just this user account on the site and I've never posted under any other. Why would I? Unlike you, I stand behind what I have to say.

      If he doesn't answer, well...

      If I didn't, all it would prove is that I was busy and didn't want to deal with some ignorant childish troll. But, seeing as I have a bit of free time this afternoon, I might as well make it clear that you're a joke, have always been a joke, and will continue to be a joke.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 3:29pm

        Unlike you, I stand behind what I have to say.

        daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn

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

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 9:14am

        Re: Re:

        This has to be my favorite idiot troll tactic -- to demand that people answer some question in what you believe is some sort of "proof trap."

        "Do you flag comments you agree with?" Has been my recent favorite example of that in the recent week. That dumb ass is so mad nobody's fallen for his hallucinatory narrative yet that he's copypasting phrases he can't comprehend like it makes him look clever.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 12:26pm

          he's copypasting phrases he can't comprehend like it makes him look clever

          He also keeps repeating “citation needed” and other such similar phrases. He’s doing that in an attempt to make himself seem like he’s not in over his head in a discussion/argument/debate. But by doing so, he proves that he is in over his head.

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

          • icon
            Toom1275 (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 8:09pm

            Re:

            It all comes down to that AC's lack of comprehension. They see [citation needed] amd its variants being successful when deployed against fact-free claims ("Techdirt hates free speech" "vaccines are bad!" "trump is innocent!" "Anti-conservative bias!" "dem illegals!" "lawyer defamation conspiracy!" etc.), and think the comment is being used as some kind of instant win card, missing that it's the underlying insight of Hitchens's razor that does all the heavy lifting.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 4:53pm

      Re:

      he's making an affirmative claim in commerce

      ...What the fuck does this even mean? Are you actually suggesting money changes hands on this free-for-all thread, or that anything said here under throwaway pseudonyms is legally binding?

      I don't know what's sadder, you trolling the site after your heroes John Steele, Keith Lipscomb, Lincoln Bandlow and Richard Liebowitz got their asses served, or the fact that you're now resorting to the antidirt tactical playbook...

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 3:55am

        Re: Re:

        ...What the fuck does this even mean

        Same thing as "making available", "tertiary infringement", and all the other attempts by Jhon Smith and his RIAA sugar daddies tried to shove into the legal world with no means of checks or balances.

        Absolute jack all.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:06am

    For the first time I am actually surprised by one of Mike's articles.

    It's almost as if he expects a would be politician to be knowledgeable about something beyond a first grade level.

    I have long suspected that as soon as one declares they wish to run for office, men in black suits show up to take them for lobotomies and to have their moral compass removed.

    On the other hand, their tendency towards greed seems to get enhanced... which of course requires the removal of their spine.

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

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:17am

    The difference between creating and creating.

    One might 'create' something by doing something. One 'creates' a shadow by standing in the sun. One 'creates' a 'path' by walking from one place to another. One 'creates' log files by using a computer. One 'creates' 3rd party telephone information by making a phone call. Trying to 'own' any of these creations is ludicrous. Does one own your name? Well, how many others exist in the world that have that same name? Claiming that they are property is even more ludicrous.

    Then there is 'creating' by dreaming up some concept and expressing it, in a book, in a painting, in a statue, in a song, etc.. This is what is normally considered creation, but ideas are ethereal, even if expressed in something solid. One might own that something solid, but the idea is still ethereal.

    The idea of ethereal constructs being property is is as ethereal as any other idea. The purpose of the US Constitution Article 1, section 8, clause 8 is to promote creation of ideas, not to establish a new form of property.

    Now I agree that the collection of, and dissemination of personally identifying information is a bad thing. The problem comes in how to control that. Just using the Internet creates a collection such information. Where we get pissed is when that collection of information is used as a commodity or is used to attack us. Focusing on those two issues should be how we go about fixing this issue. To date I haven't heard any good ways to do that, at least not without 'throwing the baby under the bus', so to speak.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 10:52am

    "establishing data as a property right"

    On the surface this looks like it would create a huge mess, perhaps they could define exactly what it is they mean by the word "data". If an all inclusive definition is used .. well, I doubt it would be impossible to implement such a system. What a really dumb idea.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 3:34pm

      Re:

      Facts are already explicitly left unprotected by the USPTO. If we can suddenly protect facts the future is nought but the toilet bowl spiral of fail.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 11:42am

    data as a property right

    That will never be compatible with the first amendment no matter how it is implemented. No freedom of speech. No freedom of press. No freedom of religion. No freedom of association. No freedom to petition. No freedom to assemble. That would all be dependent on someone else's claimed data property.

    voting via blockchain

    Did someone ask him how to make our elections less secure?

    Department of the Attention Economy

    He wants to regulate what we are allowed to pay attention to. That is one of the most fascist things I've ever heard and is the opposite of the every principal in the constitution.

    Stop the spread of misinformation that is eroding trust in our institutions and fanning the flames of polarization in our society.

    Regulate algorithms, addressing the grey area between publishers and platforms.

    There goes freedom of assembly, association, speech, press, and religion again.

    Amend the Communications Decency Act to reflect the reality of the 21st century— that large tech companies are using tools to act as publishers without any of the responsibility.

    He means crack down on the free press.

    regulation that increases the knowledge and capacity of government

    He means grow the surveillance state as much as humanly possible and eliminate the few privacy protections that do exist.

    At first I thought he was a pretty good but long shot candidate. It's sad when someone resembles some of the worst aspects of a racial stereotype.😯

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 11:56am

    Is he wanting to regulate technology, or is he wanting to regulate society by telling technology companies what they can allow people to do. The latter is a big step down the the road to rule by theocracy, as in the king is Gods appointed one.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 12:22pm

      Re:

      I think he is trying to suck up to those crazies in power by showing that he can up the crazy to way past eleven.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 12:28pm

    It's as if he took all the terrible ideas that Senator Josh Hawley has been proposing over the last year or so and said "Oh, I can top all of those with worse proposals."

    The technical term is "hold my beer and watch this...".

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

  • identicon
    Rocky, 18 Nov 2019 @ 1:27pm

    Level of knowledge

    It seems Andrew Yang knows just enough tech to become a dangerous fool.

    The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
    —Shakespeare

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

    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 7:41am

      Re: Level of knowledge

      He repeats popular themes and buzzwords, so people think he's dead clever, like.

      I saw through that phoney when I saw his facile promotion of UBI, which is basically a scam designed to shut down welfare programs, replace it with a one-size-fits-all dollar amount, then slowly, over time, reduce it on the grounds of cost till people starve to death in the streets. That's why right-wingers love it so much. You can almost hear them gleefully rubbing their hands together in the background every time the subject comes up. I say this in the knowledge that they're currently banning SNAP from being converted into cash (there are ways around it that leave people worse off) and you can't buy soap, washing or sanitary products, or toothpaste with it. If such people like it, I want it nuked from orbit, just to be sure.

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

  • identicon
    bobob, 18 Nov 2019 @ 1:34pm

    It seems like you could scale back misinformation by not giving business entities free speech rights. Rules imposed upon business to incorporate are set by statute. Incorporation creates a legal entitry seperate from the owners that shields the owners from lawsuits against the corporation and even criminal acts committed by the corporation. Why should the corporation provide a small number of people any additional means to spread misinformation beyond what those individuals choose to do personally with their own funds?

    For example, there should be no intrinsic right for the board members or executives of exxon to express an "opinion" about climate change using coroprate money. If they want to use their own funds and dissociate their opinion from exxon, that's one thing, but there's no reason that coporate money should pay for that.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 1:49pm

      It seems like you could scale back misinformation by not giving business entities free speech rights.

      At which point the government could dictate everything a corporation can and cannot say. Last time I checked, the United States had a rule against that sort of thing. I believe we call it the First Amendment.

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

      • identicon
        bobob, 19 Nov 2019 @ 4:02pm

        Re:

        I already explained that. Businesses are legal entities created by statute and the statute can create the entity with whatever rules one wishes. There is no first amendment issue. I have not said the officers of the corporation cannot speak. I've only said that the corporation doesn't have those same rights.

        The reason people incorporate is to receive the benefits of not being personally responsible for the acts of the corporation. If the officers/owners can be severed from the corporation in that way, they can also be severed from using corporate funds to disseminate misinformation, lobby, etc. If the owners do not want to have their company restricted in any way, the solution is simple. Don't incorporate and don't accept the priviliges one accrues by incorporating.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 7:03am

          I've only said that the corporation doesn't have those same rights.

          I have a question inspired by a commenter below: If the people who own/run a corporation want it to publicly stand for a specific sociopolitical position (e.g., “we support LGBT rights”), for what reason should the law bar those people from doing exactly that?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 2:51pm

      Re:

      It seems like you could scale back misinformation by not giving business entities free speech rights. Rules imposed upon business to incorporate are set by statute.

      Except the First Amendment says you can't do that.

      there should be no intrinsic right for the board members or executives of exxon to express an "opinion" about climate change using coroprate money.

      Why not? They run the company, and if they want the company to express an opinion on climate change, why should they not be able to under the First Amendment?

      If they want to use their own funds and dissociate their opinion from exxon

      There is nothing stopping them from doing this today.

      there's no reason that coporate money should pay for that.

      Why? It's not taxpayer money, it's a private corporation that is not beholden to the public. Why should they not be able to express a corporate opinion as they choose?

      Better question, why do you want to gut the First Amendment?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 2:10pm

    For example, there should be no intrinsic right for the board members or executives of exxon to express an "opinion" about climate change using coroprate money. If they want to use their own funds and dissociate their opinion from exxon, that's one thing, but there's no reason that coporate money should pay for that.

    I sympathize with your pain at being contradicted (or even refuted) by someone who gets paid to do just that, while you had to speak on your own dime: but ... there is no possible way to establish any kind of equitable society based on "these people don't get to talk because I don't like the kinds of associations they have."

    And there's no way to draw objective lines between permitted speech and impermissible speech. If copralites can't speak freely, anyone can be silenced by being tainted by some kind of association. I teach at a school, which is an incorporated entity which shields its board of governors from lawsuits based on actions of employees--you just took away my right to speak on the subject I know best. I join a church, which is an incorporated entity which shields its trustees from lawsuits based on actions of members--you just took away my right to make any kind of ethical comment. I join a union, which shields its administration against lawsuits based on property damage caused by striking workers--you just took away my right to comment on the safety of any workplace. If I have ANY kind of collaboration with anyone who agrees with me, I therefore lost the right to speak about what we agree on. There's no slippery slope. There's no bright line. There's no compromise position. There's just a vertical drop all the way to hell. Which is why the founding fathers called freedom of speech an "inalienable right". You don't get separated from it just because someone doesn't approve of whom you associate with. And only the worst kind of tyrant tries. (The worst kind of tyrant, of course, is the one who is "only doing it for their own good".)

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

    • identicon
      bobob, 19 Nov 2019 @ 4:12pm

      Re:

      This and other similar replies seem to be based on not understanding the point or deliberately creating a strawman, since nothing I said takes away any person's first amendment rights.

      As you noted, the corporation you work for by virtue of incorporation, shields the board and officers, etc., from the acts of the corporation. It does so by creating a new legal entity that is not a person and for which all of the rules that this entity must abide by are created by statute. No rules on that entity stop anyone from speaking for himself or herself.

      If you think the first amendment has to apply to a corporation, then why should any other rights that people have be denied to a corporation? Why should a corporation not be able to vote once it's 18 years old or hold public office?

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 7:09am

        It does so by creating a new legal entity that is not a person and for which all of the rules that this entity must abide by are created by statute. No rules on that entity stop anyone from speaking for himself or herself.

        But your position is that corporations don’t have the right to express a sociopolitical statement in the same way that the people behind that corporation do. Your position would silence a corporation from being able to say whether it holds a specific position if the people running it want the corporation to hold that position. Chick-fil-A, for example, couldn’t say how it “feels” about LGBT rights, and no one could legally speak for Chick-fil-A as a company in that regard. I fail to see how that isn’t an abridgement of First Amendment rights.

        Why should a corporation not be able to vote once it's 18 years old or hold public office?

        “Well, there was a bit of stir when [America] decided that since corporations are people, they could technically run for president. But President Walt-Disney-Pepsi-Comcast has done wonders for the economy, given that it’s…now the economy.”

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

      • icon
        bhull242 (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 8:52am

        Re: Re:

        I understand where you’re coming from, and I used to feel the same way. The issue is that it’s difficult to limit a corporation’s free speech rights without infringing on the First Amendment fights of people running or speaking for the company. That’s the real issue: a corporation cannot speak without a human being doing the speaking, so any limitation imposed on the corporation is also imposed on some people.

        There is a limitation on free-speech rights for commercial speech, such as advertisements, but even regulations on commercial speech are limited in what commercial speech can be banned or limited. Furthermore, commercial speech can also apply to individuals, and not all speech from corporations is necessarily commercial (though a lot of it is).

        Also, if you limit free speech of corporations, you limit speech in publications by a corporation, such as in video games, books, newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets. What if a business wants to just take a public stance on an issue?

        As for other rights, well, keeping corporations from having their own separate vote does not keep or restrict the vote of any individual person at all. For the Second Amendment, I’m pretty sure that corporations technically have the same rights as individuals in that regard. Rights like the right to a trial by jury, protection from warrant-free and probable-cause-free searches and seizures, right to defend, etc. also apply equally to corporations as to individuals, aside from the fact that, in general, a business cannot be imprisoned or charged under criminal law (I think), and cannot go to court pro se, but that’s just out of practicality. Freedom of press is similar to freedom of speech, right to petition the government is there, and freedom of assembly—to the extent it makes any sense—also applies to corporations. So that just leaves freedom of religion, which I am less certain of. I seem to recall a Supreme Court case on that issue, but I don’t recall the result.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 10:13am

          Re: Re: Re:

          a corporation cannot speak without a human being doing the speaking, so any limitation imposed on the corporation is also imposed on some people.

          Is that necessarily true? There's a difference between "I, the CEO of BigCorp, support XYZ." and "BigCorp supports XYZ." Further,

          What if a business wants to just take a public stance on an issue?

          leads to the question of why "BigCorp supports XYZ" isn't just a nonsense statement to begin with. BigCorp is a legal abstraction - how can it "say" anything? Why does it have the ability to "speak" at all?

          And then I get hung up and contradict things I just said above, because it makes sense to me to have a corporation such as a union or a political party "speaking" in a single voice on behalf of its members. However, I see an organization such as a union, that was designed specifically for collective representation, as different from a fast food restaurant that was created to sell things.

          in general, a business cannot be imprisoned or charged under criminal law (I think)

          Wouldn't that make things interesting? If a corporation can "speak" independently of its human members, why shouldn't the corporation itself be held responsible for things that happen as a result of that speech? For example, suppose the CEO of BigCorp puts a hit out on a competitor's CEO, saying "BigCorp wants this problem eliminated." If the CEO is "speaking for the corporation," then wouldn't the corporation be guilty as well as the CEO individually? Could a corporation be "imprisoned" by forcing the suspension of its operations? Could it receive the "death penalty" by being forced to disband?

          Sorry if all that's a bit rambling :D

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

          • icon
            bhull242 (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 11:10am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I disagree with the notion that a meaningful distinction exists between an organization specifically designated to speak and one meant for other purposes that justifies why one should have free speech while the other should not. Ultimately, either way a group is speaking on behalf of its members or employees.

            Furthermore, a business should be able to take a stance on issues that directly affect it, such as regulations or tax cuts.

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 12:06pm

            suppose the CEO of BigCorp puts a hit out on a competitor's CEO, saying "BigCorp wants this problem eliminated." If the CEO is "speaking for the corporation," then wouldn't the corporation be guilty as well as the CEO individually?

            No. A corporation is a legal abstract; on its own, it cannot commit a crime. People commit crimes. A corporation can and should be investigated if the CEO used corporate resources to commit a crime. But the CEO should be held responsible for the crime itself because they committed the crime.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 12:28pm

              Re:

              A corporation is a legal abstract; on its own, it cannot commit a crime.

              Why not? Is there a specific reason that it can't commit a crime, or is that just an arbitrary line for the legal construct? That is, the law empowers a corporation to speak on its own, but it does not empower it to act on its own?

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

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 3:21pm

                Again: A corporation is a legal abstract. It isn’t a sentient being, much less a human. Insomuch as a corporation has “rights”, it is so the law allows a corporation’s representatives to speak or act on behalf of the entire corporation (or at least its leadership) without either (generally) violating the law or (generally) facing government interference. A corporation, in and of itself, cannot express an opinion on gay rights or murder someone. To say otherwise would be like saying a sheet of notebook paper can do those things on its own. Please don’t show me that level of ignorance.

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

              • icon
                bhull242 (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:07pm

                Re: Re:

                Is there a specific reason that it can't commit a crime, or is that just an arbitrary line for the legal construct?

                Strictly speaking, just about everything about a legal construct is arbitrary. However, let’s talk more about the justifications about this line-drawing.

                First, to my knowledge (which is limited), as far as laws are concerned, a corporation only exists regarding civil litigation, including regulations, and finances. Part of that is because of how corporations are meant to exist (primarily for financial purposes and to protect members of the corporation from civil liability) and how criminal laws are generally set up. In fact, since a major purpose of a corporation is to shield owners from civil liability, having it do the same for criminal law seems undesirable.

                Second, the only consequences that can be instituted for violating criminal laws that can’t be done for civil laws are imprisonment, probation (which, if violated, leads to jail time), and, in the case of a felony or sex-based crime, being labeled a felon or sex offender, respectively. You can’t imprison a corporation. What would they even mean? It’s a fictitious entity; a concept. You can’t put a concept in prison. Probation is similar because the only consequence for violating one is imprisonment or additional probation; outside of that, it’s the same as an injunction, restraining order, or court order. As for the criminal record, it’d be trivial to circumvent: just create a new corporation, transfer all the assets to the new one, then dissolve the original. So making a corporation susceptible to criminal law would also be futile or redundant, depending on the penalties instituted.

                So basically, to the extent it even makes sense to hold a corporation liable for criminal acts, it wouldn’t really help at all.

                That is, the law empowers a corporation to speak on its own, but it does not empower it to act on its own?

                Ahhhhh, but a corporation does not act or speak “on its own”. Think of a corporation as a computer. It does and says whatever the programmer tells it to; it cannot do anything of its own volition. (Yes, this comparison doesn’t work for legal liability, but that’s not the point.) A corporation is nothing more than a bunch of people and a document dictating its purpose and structure. It does whatever the people in charge of it decide for it to do. It “says” anything that its owners and representatives say on its behalf. On its own, a corporation can’t do or say anything. It’s just a legal and financial construct for convenience and liability protection.

                As for why there are more restrictions on and liability for what a corporation can do vs. what it can say, that’s because for humans, there are more restrictions on and liability for what a human can do vs. what it can say. The First Amendment greatly restricts what a government can do about speech, period, regardless of the source of that speech. The restrictions on the government regarding actions of people (or entities) are far less stringent. There really is no difference in this regard between corporations and humans.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 8:48pm

    "...create a Department of the Attention Economy..."

    Stupid? Sure, but I might overlook that for $1,000 monthly.

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

    • identicon
      bob, 19 Nov 2019 @ 12:11am

      Re: "...create a Department of the Attention Economy..."

      I know you are joking but in reality there are probably too many people that would sell out their vote and liberty for a mere $1000 per month.

      I also would love guaranteed money each month but no amount could ever justify permanently giving up, willingly, my bill of rights.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 5:49am

    As expected

    When I looked at Yang's word salad a day or two ago, I was thinking, MM's going to be all over this crap.

    Yep.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 8:26am

    I get it

    Department of the Attention Economy

    Government funds Big Tech by taking over the onerous "moderation at scale" problem.

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

    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 8:54am

      Re: I get it

      And thereby decides which speech is or isn't acceptable. Of course, it will be underfunded and understaffed, thus "confirming" that government is inherently inefficient and wasteful because moderation at scale is ridiculously hard.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 10:37am

      Re: I get it

      Will the Attention Economy have downturns causing the government to borrow some of your attention? After this occurs several times, will there be an attention deficit?

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

  • identicon
    Tech-info, 14 Dec 2019 @ 4:39am

    NON-Serious

    Presumably it'll additionally improve questions as to why the USA and UK would help Internet Freedom and its proliferation when they're perfecting way of using it as a surveillance tool. The Internet gives such appealing surveillance opportunities to safety services that unfettered, unrestricted and anonymous Internet get entry to does no longer appear a sensible worldwide goal. Just like Western democratic states, states that are not governed by a machine of democracy are acutely aware about the electricity that the Internet has to facilitate subversion of state control.12 The Arab spring rebellion is a top example of the risks that the Internet can impose on a government. Between these it appears not going that both type of kingdom will benefit dramatically from advancing Internet Freedom. Thirteen

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 15 Dec 2019 @ 11:11am

      Re: NON-Serious

      I have no idea what you’re saying. Part of that is due to some grammar and syntax errors and the random insertion of numbers for no conceivable reason.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.