Because Too Many People Still Don't Know Why The EARN IT Bill Is Terrible, Here's A Video

from the AV dept

The biggest problem with all the proposals to reform Section 230 is that way too many people don't understand *why* they are a terrible idea. And the EARN IT bill is one of the worst of the worst, because it does not just break Section 230 but also so much more, yet too many people remain oblivious to the issues.

Obviously there's more education to be done, and towards that end Stanford's Riana Pfefferkorn and I recently gave this presentation at the Crypto and Privacy Village at Defcon. The first part is a crash course in Section 230 and how it does the important work it does in protecting the online ecosystem. The second part is an articulation of all the reasons the EARN IT bill in particular is terrible and the specific damage it would do to encryption and civil liberties, along with ruining Section 230 and everything important that it advances.

We'll keep explaining in every way we can why Section 230 should be preserved and the EARN IT bill should be repudiated, but if you're the kind of person who prefers AV explanations, then this video is for you.

(Note: there's a glitch in the video at the beginning. Once it goes dark, skip ahead to about 3 minutes 20 seconds and it will continue.)

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Filed Under: earn it act, encryption, section 230


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  • identicon
    Glenn, 15 Sep 2020 @ 6:56pm

    Freedom of Speech is a right, not a privilege. You don't have to "EARN IT" (or any other Constitutionally-protected rights). 230 enables and protects Freedom of Speech. Every American should by nature understand this. Any American who doesn't is not an American at all.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 15 Sep 2020 @ 11:37pm

      Re:

      The people complaining don't want free speech. They want speech without consequences. Which is not only childish, it can only be achieved by removing the free speech rights of others.

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

  • icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 Sep 2020 @ 12:28am

    "The people complaining don't want free speech. They want speech without consequences."

    More accurately they want their speech to be free of consequences. And they know damn well that's what they'll get if section 230 is abolished in the US.

    Because most people aren't going to want to stick around major open platforms if the stormfront trolls and breitbart crowd whose accounts many platforms usually moderate away the very second they start slinging the ethnic slurs and bigotry around, were suddenly free to invade the place and start shitting in the corners of those platforms unhindered.

    Being rid of 230 is the wet dream of the neo-nazi crowd and the KKK, because it would make sure no one would ever get to tell them "OK we're done. Get out!" when they start their "Black man Bad" rant in someone else's chat group.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 16 Sep 2020 @ 12:57am

      Re:

      "More accurately they want their speech to be free of consequences"

      Indeed. Certain groups seem incapable of thinking about the needs of anyone but themselves.

      "Being rid of 230 is the wet dream of the neo-nazi crowd and the KKK, because it would make sure no one would ever get to tell them "OK we're done. Get out!" when they start their "Black man Bad" rant in someone else's chat group."

      Except, that's unlikely to be the actual effect. That may be what they tell themselves, but they also operate on the fantasy that the only problem they have is that "the left" are censoring them because of their political views, rather than recognise that it's their abhorrant actions that are causing them issues. Nobody's being deplatformed for traditional conservative views. Hell, quite often nobody's really being deplatformed for racist and homophobic views, but rather the way they choose the speak about them. That's a difference between generally saying "I don't approve of gay marriage" and directly attacking individual gay people for existing. There's a difference between saying "I don't approve of the BLM protests" and spreading direct misinformation about the movement's members in order to promote the abuse of black people. They complain because they think those things are equivalent to each other, but they're really not.

      In reality, lots of sites will need to shut down, or at least remove the ability to host content. Some will just move offshore, but others will be affected in ways that we can't predict just yet. The fear is that it will turn the wider internet into the cesspools they favour, but the real effects are going to be that the way the internet operates is changed forever, while companies that operate outside the US can just carry on as normal (since common sense laws make a section 230 unnecessary) and can just block Americans from using them if they find they can't operate the way they wish by allowing them access.

      On the flipside, it would be funny to see the people who host the current cesspools slowly realise that they are now legally liable for the speech they host and having to do the same things. Not a price worth paying, given everything else that would be damaged, but that would be funny to see.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2020 @ 1:29pm

      Re:

      Because most people aren't going to want to stick around major open platforms if the stormfront trolls and breitbart crowd whose accounts many platforms usually moderate away the very second they start slinging the ethnic slurs and bigotry around, were suddenly free to invade the place and start shitting in the corners of those platforms unhindered.

      Then they'll complain because no one is going to see their dreck, and because they can't connect with everyone else who isn't as dedicated as they are has left for somewhere else, or nowhere. Just like with their hilarious alternative platform failures.

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


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