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December 14, 2018

Of Course: Provision to Give Monster Tech Companies Neutral-Platform Immunity Even If They Behave Like Publishers Snuck Into... NAFTA Replacement Trade Bill

Of course.

Of course.

Of course.

I want to know which corrupt corporatist Republican on Google's payroll snuck this in.

Less than two weeks ago, President Trump signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement intended to be the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump has attacked for decades. The White House says the agreement will "better serve the interests of American workers and businesses" and "includes the strongest digital trade... provisions of any United States trade agreement."

Unfortunately, an obscure article in one provision of the agreement only serves the interests of the largest tech monopolies by granting them special privilege to censor conservatives. Congress should demand the removal or amendment of this article before giving consent to confirm section 230.

How did this happen? Big Tech lobbyists orchestrated the quiet insertion of a seemingly innocuous provision (Article 19.17) into the deal that is based on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Section 230, much beloved by big tech, and an essential building block of their monopolistic dominance, holds that platforms like Facebook cannot be held liable as a "publisher or speaker" of their users' content.

...

The law was not intended to permit media platforms from censoring whatever they deemed "objectionable" -- which would be something a publisher does. The law was written to permit the censoring/moderating of objectively objectionable stuff, stuff that could get you in trouble with the law, slander, threats, etc.

But this new language someone snuck into the trade bill changes that.

According to Candeub, these changes will "likely lead courts to interpret it to mean whatever the platforms object to -- which has thus far included the word 'illegal alien,' pro-life advertisements, videos defending 'Israel's Legal Founding,' and President Trumpís own immigration advertisements."

This means courts would likely throw out any action to stop censorship under state law or an executive order, which Trump reportedly wants to issue.

The provision can still be stripped out of the bill -- but I'll bet you any amount of money it won't be. Google employees like Represenative Goodlatte will see to that.

The government is now an owned and operated subsidiary of Monster Tech.


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posted by Ace of Spades at 01:38 PM

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