Having Learned Absolutely Nothing From The Failures Of FOSTA, Senators Graham & Blumenthal Prep FOSTA 2.0

from the guys,-seriously? dept

Just as some in Congress are finally realizing that perhaps all of the moralizing around the need for FOSTA missed the fact that it actually put more people at risk, Senators Richard Blumenthal (an original sponsor of what became FOSTA) and Lindsey Graham are preparing for FOSTA 2.0 instead. This is coming a few months after Graham's big grandstanding "but think of the children online" hearing that was basically a few hours of clueless moral panic about things that insecure adults were absolutely positive the kids were getting up to on their phones.

The latest reporting on the planned "let's break Section 230 a bit more" bill from Graham and Blumenthal is that they'll create a new FOSTA-like exemption from Section 230 protections for any internet company found to have hosted "child sex abuse material" (the industry's new favorite acronym: CSAM). From what I've heard in talking to people on the Hill, a "commission" would be formed that would set forth "best practices" for preventing CSAM on their platforms, and if an internet company wanted to "earn" its CDA 230 protections, it would need to show that it complied with the commission's recommendations. Also, "certifying" that you comply, but not actually complying, could lead to criminal charges.

Of course, what this misses is that basically all major internet companies already have systems in place to deal with this stuff -- mostly in working with NCMEC, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. But, Congress loves nothing better than an issue it doesn't understand but can grandstand over. A few months back, the NY Times ran a highly misleading article about CSAM, using the data around all of the vast amount of reporting that internet platforms did to NCMEC about the CSAM they found and dealt with... and using that to suggest the platforms themselves were to blame for the issue.

Child sexual abuse is a very real and very serious issue. But, as with "sex trafficking" and FOSTA last year, blaming the tech companies for it seems really misguided. That NY Times article did exactly that -- using the numbers reported to NCMEC as evidence that the problem was growing (rather than as evidence that tech companies were doing a better job finding, blocking and reporting this stuff). Indeed, if you actually read down into the details, what the article is really demonstrating is the failure of the federal government and the Justice Department in tackling the very real criminal issues related to CSAM.

But what good Senator can grandstand about their own failures to fund the DOJ's efforts, when it's much more fun and headline-grabbing to send letters to 36 major internet companies demanding to know what they do to stop CSAM, which is now being used as the basis for this new law.

Again, these Senators could be funding the DOJ to tackle the problem. They could be helping NCMEC better deal with its own issues. But, instead, they're going to attack the group of companies who have been overwhelmingly proactive in helping to fight CSAM. And, in the process, they're going to end up poking another bunch of holes in Section 230, which (if FOSTA is any evidence) is likely to have the exact opposite impact of what the Senators insist will actually happen.

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Filed Under: cda 230, csam, fosta, lindsey graham, richard blumenthal, section 230, sesta


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 23 Dec 2019 @ 8:12am

    Channeling Joe McCarthy

    McCarthyism targeting something else. Substitute CSAM for communist and Big Tech for film industry and the metaphor is almost complete. The drive is to create ways to censure via baby steps, get ones toe in the door then force it open and 1st Amendment be damned.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 7:29pm

      Re: Channeling Joe McCarthy

      If the 1st Amendment dies, I wouldn't be at all surprised if its Lindsey Graham that kills it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 9:42am

    Looks like the ultimate objective is that nobody can publish without the work first being approved by a licensed editor, oh and to keep the copyright cartel happy, and copyright transferred to the publishing company.

    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, 23 Dec 2019 @ 10:03am

    Poor MANICK...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 10:06am

    I predict the creation of a new governmental branch ...
    The Internet Force

    Members of the internet force will scour the far reaches of the Intarwebs for any and all violations of the law.
    Violators will have their computers remotely detonated by Orin Hatch.

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

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Dec 2019 @ 10:35am

    From what I've heard in talking to people on the Hill, a "commission" would be formed that would set forth "best practices" for preventing CSAM on their platforms, and if an internet company wanted to "earn" its CDA 230 protections, it would need to show that it complied with the commission's recommendations. Also, "certifying" that you comply, but not actually complying, could lead to criminal charges.

    So this is how liberty dies: by thinking of the children.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 23 Dec 2019 @ 10:41am

    'Never let a good tragedy/victimization go to waste'

    Given I can't imagine any remotely legal and/or ethical site knowingly allowing such content to be posted, with most likely taking steps to preemptively block it whenever possible, at best this is just a disgusting attempt to score some cheap 'We're Doing Something' points by telling companies to do what they are already doing.

    Less generous in the benefit of the doubt, and I suspect more likely, this strikes me as yet another way to erode 230 by making the protections conditional to what the government decides are 'best practices', and to hell with what does and does not actually work for a given site. Worse, it sounds like 230 protections would not be the default, and would instead only apply to sites that were property 'certified', and if you can't see a problem with that then you're not looking, at all.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Dec 2019 @ 10:58am

      Yeah, this whole thing reeks of a foot-in-the-door approach to getting government control over the Internet. First they set “standards” for child porn, then they move on to other kinds of speech (“Your service doesn’t censor racial slurs? Well, then, I guess we’ll have to confiscate your servers until you decide to do otherwise.”), First Amendment and Section 230 be damned. And of course the “standards” would lean toward “safety” in that they’d cover everything from the N-word to “cracker”, jokes that happen to talk about violence, and angry tweets aimed at politicians just to be safe. (“All speech is equal” or somesuch bullshit would be the rallying cry, I assume.)

      Anyone who thinks this bullshit would do any good is a fool. “Think of the children” is right up there with “we’ve always done it this way” as one of the most dangerous phrases in the English language; they can both justify so much heinous bullshit that stopping it all becomes nigh-impossible.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 7:41pm

        Re:

        Well.. as I take a moment to pause in deep thought of how over the last two decades we have watched in utter disbelief the act of this corporation or that corporation mess with this and fuck with that, and all the bad laws we have seen pop up in place of freedom here and liberty there.. and freaking out for this when common sense should have resulted that, the lists go on and on of how we all captured it here on Techdirt. All our sinfully sometimes delightful best utterances for what they were worth were a joy if not a grievance.. Gentlemen, Ladies and others, Thank you. Its been an honor and a priviledge to share the world going down the crapper with you all. Good night.

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

    • icon
      urza9814 (profile), 23 Dec 2019 @ 12:22pm

      Re: 'Never let a good tragedy/victimization go to waste'

      The other thing to keep in mind is that these "best practices" are being written and required by the same government who has proven multiple times that it is unable to keep this kind of filth off THEIR OWN networks. So either they can't obey their own best practices, or those best practices don't actually do anything to help.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 8:05pm

      Re: 'Never let a good tragedy/victimization go to waste'

      Its just a matter of time, sadly, before some part of some outside vested interest offers up some unGodly amount for Techdirt, and it will be gone. That is just the way it was.

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

      • icon
        R.H. (profile), 24 Dec 2019 @ 1:09pm

        Re: Re: 'Never let a good tragedy/victimization go to waste'

        Techdirt has always had the Silence Techdirt option available where it costs $100,000,001 to shut them down for a year or $1,000,000 for just one day without Techdirt. I'd like to think that this option is a joke but, one hundred million dollars is certainly an ungodly amount of money.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Dec 2019 @ 4:43pm

          Re: Re: Re: 'Never let a good tragedy/victimization go to waste'

          You know, I would be disappointed to learn that Techdirt was lost forever because it sold for $100,000,000.00, but Geez that is a lot of zeros.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2019 @ 7:10pm

            Re: 'Never let a good tragedy/victimization go to waste'

            $100,000,000? Zimbabwe could afford that. Just keep printing money.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 10:49am

    At what point do we say ... this is a police state?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 7:47pm

      Re:

      The point would be at the point where you wake up after sleeping against that tree for twenty years ago or more or even as far back when the CIA took out JFK in front of the whole nation. That would be a good place to start.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Dec 2019 @ 10:34am

        Re: Re:

        I did not ask whether we presently exist in a police state, I asked at what point.

        If one were to continue with your line of thinking, I imagine it would end up at a place much further in the past than the 60's.

        I guess there is no fine line between law 'n order and police state, just a huge friggin gray area.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 23 Dec 2019 @ 12:07pm

    Laws of the world v0.1

    Lets see...
    how to enforce laws into other countries..
    Could we Explode ours tot he point they become ridiculous??
    And see if they spill over into other countries??

    Because we REALLY dont have the problems that are happening over there..
    You know where A few EU and American, fly over into other countries to do Strange things with kids.. but we cant prove it, cause we have no rights over there..

    Ok lets point it at the internet, and anyone anywhere can be arrested?? no, only the web site?? ONLY if its in our country. does that really do any good?

    How about we monitor the sites and track down those that go there, from the USA/EU and try to get them arrested? Or we make dummy sites that are honey traps.. and ...
    Oh!.. so the USA has laws and regs already, that restrict sites like this even getting a Site up?? They would have to get one outside the USA/EU...
    So what are we doing??

    C.o.n.f.u.s.i.n.g. the hell out of people who think we know what we are doing.. Ok..

    So, insted of creating locations and availability of resources and places to run to, and training police on how to deal with this.. We are adding Blood to the water, an we aint put any Hooks out to catch anything..

    Just a comment I said before. Look alittle deep into this subject. and the USA gov. Backed companies that give alt sources to having a Child. And there is a strange number out there, that have created a religious based services.. And 2/3 of the money that Could goto planned parenthood..goes to those groups. And these 2 seem to have worked for them. And the lady above seems to be on the board of directors for at least 1 of those groups.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 1:16pm

    Old and corrupt.

    Don’t worry everyone senetor graham and the like is getting older.

    You won’t have to worry about that boomer gold much longer since it seems to be losing its shine lol

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 1:39pm

      Re: Old and corrupt.

      Don’t worry everyone senetor graham and the like is getting older.

      If he and his mates give the copyright cartel control over the Internet, and they are behind efforts like this as they are the wedge by which they make sites responsible for Infringement, there will be no Internet left, and no way of replacing it because of third party liability on communications suppliers.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 1:55pm

        Re: Re: Old and corrupt.

        Well that’s what we have courts for.

        And really i have no problem “Myself anyway” using litigation against these types of people once the opportunity presents itself. And they certainly don’t want anything like it either because lose enough cases they themselves will have nothing left.

        They run things on a business model they just have not met someone willing to call it yet and when that happens it will be interesting.

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

        • icon
          R.H. (profile), 24 Dec 2019 @ 1:18pm

          Re: Re: Re: Old and corrupt.

          The problem with the thought that "that's what we have courts for" is the fact that, as of last Friday, 1-in-4 circuit court judges were appointed by Trump. We don't yet know if they'll all rule exactly as he would like in various matters but, generally, our back and forth switching between parties in the Presidency keeps the courts from sliding too far in either ideological direction. However, since Obama was only able to get 55 circuit court judges approved (in 8 years) and left 140+ vacancies, which have now been filled (mostly with younger judges) by Trump, the courts have been tilted quite far to the right and will likely stay that way for decades.

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Dec 2019 @ 7:38pm

            the courts have been tilted quite far to the right and will likely stay that way for decades

            Trump’s biggest support base — White evangelicals — voted for him largely because of this outcome. They wanted the courts stacked with judges who can and will “fight back” in the so-called culture wars, who will outlaw abortion and set back LGBT rights and turn evangelical Christian beliefs into laws that govern all peoples.

            They’ll lose in the long run, of course. Their vision of American can’t exist with modern America, and they can’t turn back time. But they can sure as shit keep the tide from turning for a couple of decades — all thanks to Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and a GOP more interested in power than in governance.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2019 @ 2:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Old and corrupt.

            True.

            But even right wing Judges have some interesting views on copyright laws. “In trumps case anyway from what I can pin down he’s an interesting case”

            So we have to see.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 4:55pm

    But I thought FOSTA was supposed to kill off prostitution and piracy for good!

    Gasp - you mean the people who supported FOSTA lied? I'm shocked, I tell you! Shocked!

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

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 24 Dec 2019 @ 12:08pm

      Re:

      Why is it that regular people can see whats going to happen, but those creating the Bill/Law/reg/Assumption.
      CANT?
      I really thought we were hiring people that were SUPPOSED to be smarter then the common man/woman/child.

      The Concept is fine, but even the old laws protected many, and still did not give those that needed protecting ANY PROTECTION.

      How Many of you know about the group that helps battered wives?? Its not even part of the Gov. Its run privately. Because the laws to Protect Spouses JUST ISNT WORKING, and there are NO PROTECTIONS. NO way out, unless they Run away.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 4:58pm

    As usual when Lindsey Graham isnt outright betraying the country displaying Trump's adulteries, corruption candals or shameless nepotism, he is fake moralizing for brownie points with his base of hypocritical religious numbnuts. His kind and generation need to die off from Washington's politics. I say this because they don't even pretend to have a modicum of shame left on their putrid beings.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 4:59pm

    As usual when Lindsey Graham isnt outright betraying the country downplaying Trump's adulteries, corruption candals or shameless nepotism, he is fake moralizing for brownie points with his base of hypocritical religious numbnuts. His kind and generation need to die off from Washington's politics. I say this because they don't even pretend to have a modicum of shame left on their putrid beings.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2019 @ 8:12pm

    Looks like the NY Times just can't keep up with the times anymore.

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 24 Dec 2019 @ 12:12am

    That NY Times article did exactly that -- using the numbers reported to NCMEC as evidence that the problem was growing (rather than as evidence that tech companies were doing a better job finding, blocking and reporting this stuff)

    Wow.
    That's some antivaxxer-level "logic" there.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Dec 2019 @ 11:47am

    FOSTA does not need a sequel.

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


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