Law Enforcement Wants To Weaken Section 230: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

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67 Responses

  1. Jim Tyre says:

    Nice, Ken

    It's an important subject, worth being talked about more than it has been already. For those interested, our blog post on the subject is at https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/07/state-ags-threaten-gut-cda-230-speech-protections

  2. Bob says:

    Thanks for writing about this, Ken. I've been following the Section 230 story as well, and to me the whole thing smacks of a creeping form of totalitarianism that is pretty disturbing.

    It's akin to the old "frog in the boiling pot" parable: Government is slowly turning up the heat on individual rights, and society won't realize it until the legal system is boiling over with draconian laws prohibiting anything and everything. By then, it'll be too late.

    I'm not sure anymore what needs to happen to get the public's attention focused on these types of issues. Maybe when Zuckerberg becomes president, and Facebook accounts become compulsory, people will get concerned.

    But, then again, probably not.

    Bob

  3. Wondering says:

    Why are the Missouri, South Dakota, and Washington AGs listed first among the signers of that letter, outside of alphabetical order? Is that because they're the ones who actually drafted the letter? I ask because I live in one of those states.

    Kudos to the Connecticut, Virginia, and Wisconsin AGs for not signing it.

    I understand this fear and frustration and desperation to help these women and girls who have been trafficked. But I don't understand why they think making websites responsible for this is going to stop trafficking. Removing those ads from places like backpage.com won't stop trafficking. It seems like it would only serve to drive advertising for it further underground.

  4. NI says:

    The whole point of stuff like this is to make everyone a criminal so that any time someone in power wants to harass someone, they simply go out and find a crime that can be stuck on him.

  5. Dan Weber says:

    How specifically do they want to reduce it?

    If they want to require people who run blogs to, say, make a good-faith to maintain IP addresses for comments for X days it might not totally suck. I'd still have some technical and legal issues with it, but I could discuss those rationally.

    That's not what they are after, though. They want to let every state be able to drive a truck through the CDA.

  6. Vermin says:

    It's getting cold in here.

  7. Warren Vita says:

    I fail to see how this will help any children being trafficked. Are the dirtbags who do that dumb enough to post about it on a public forum somewhere?

  8. Anonymous Lurker says:

    It's amazing that "the children" managed to survive these millions of years.

  9. Harold Smith says:

    As the EFF story rightly points put, it is not the Attorney Generals of several states who signed the letter to Congress, it was the Attorney Generals of 47 states!
    If this goes anywhere suits by local and state prosecutors, looking to gain notoriety and political backers, will clog the courts and shut down much of the internet.

  10. different Jess says:

    …countless instances of child sex trafficking…

    George Mason wept. In every one of the three (three!) instances they cite of "child prostitution", the fact that some dirtbag "pimp" posted some crap on Backpage.com was no barrier to said dirtbag pimp's arrest. And those three incidents are the all the evidence they offer for the "growth of internet-facilitated child sex trafficking" they claim to oppose. I didn't vote for Koster (I never vote for drug-war prosecutors for any office), but I didn't dream he would be this craven, this un-American, this traitorous. Absolutely disgusting.

  11. R R Clark says:

    As someone who has actually investigated human trafficking (which is, uh, by definition a federal crime as it crosses borders), I can't figure this one out. If you win, you lose. If you lose, you lose. What's the point?

    Right now I'm wondering whether 47 State AGs are actually qualified to do their jobs, for instance.

  12. Steve Brecher says:

    risk-adverse -> risk-averse
    Feel free to delete this comment.

  13. joshuaism says:

    @Anonymous Lurker
    "The Children" never survive. They either die young or become adults.

    It's too bad some people want them to remain children long after the age of majority though.

  14. Joel says:

    @Wondering: That would be my assumption as well (I, too, live in one of those states and I just assume at this point that any proposed law that flies in the face of individual liberty and/or common sense is probably supported by it).

  15. Ollie says:

    I usually hate living in CT, but for just a little bit I'm proud to say I'm in one of the 3 states whose AG didn't sign it.

  16. Joel says:

    Oh, and I think we're asking the wrong question here. Given the incredibly tenuous connection between Section 230 and child prostitution cases, we should be asking who is really pushing for this (I all but guarantee these guys are pushing for this on someone else's behalf) and for what purpose? An argument this weak and emotionally-barbed has to be covering for something worse.

  17. Jim Tyre says:

    Generally relevant to the theme of this blog post (and particularly some of the comments) is a Reuters aticle today about the DEA's Special Operations Division, or SOD:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/05/us-dea-sod-idUSBRE97409R20130805

    Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans

    By John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke
    WASHINGTON | Mon Aug 5, 2013 9:11am EDT
    (Reuters) – A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

    Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

    The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial.

    Whether one wishes to tell the government to SOD off is not a decison for me to make. '-)

  18. En Passant says:

    different Jess wrote Aug 5, 2013 @11:12 am:

    George Mason wept. In every one of the three (three!) instances they cite of "child prostitution", the fact that some dirtbag "pimp" posted some crap on Backpage.com was no barrier to said dirtbag pimp's arrest. And those three incidents are the all the evidence they offer for the "growth of internet-facilitated child sex trafficking" they claim to oppose.

    "Sex trafficking" statistics cited by officials often exist only in the minds of the officials, as Maggie McNeill has often pointed out. Maggie is on Popehat's blogroll, and very much worth reading on such subjects.

  19. Quiet Lurcker says:

    @Joel -

    To answer your question, I have one suspicion: (dare I say it out loud?) The so-called government in Washington, D.C., in one of its myriad incarnations, maybe?

    Of course, that would make this move a stalking-horse, intended to get something even more smelly past the electorate. My candidates for the something even more smelly include the NSA data gathering; provision of a fig-leaf for the morally reprehensible and legally beyond-the-pale fun and games in cases like that of Kim Dotcom (Not defending or accusing him here – no evidence one way or other – just lambasting the actions of two governments in this case) or the website dajaz1.com; or similar.

  20. Rich Fiscus says:

    @Dan Weber: If they want to require people who run blogs to, say, make a good-faith to maintain IP addresses for comments for X days it might not totally suck. I'd still have some technical and legal issues with it, but I could discuss those rationally.

    Based on my understanding of SCOTUS precedent saying the First Amendment guarantees a right to anonymous speech that wouldn't even be remotely constitutional. And that's as it should be. You cannot forbid anonymous speech without also censoring. Unless it only applies to an extremely narrowly defined purpose, narrow enough to be practically nonexistent in fact, I can't imagine any rational argument which could trump that. If you have one I'd very much like to hear it.

  21. nlp says:

    In addition to the 47 state attorneys general who signed, Guam and the Virgin Islands are also included. I don't have a senator on that committee, but Ms Coakley shall be hearing from me.

  22. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    As with most trends in government to day, the petty pissants need to be reminded, strongly, that WE do not work for THEM, THEY work for US.

    Not going to hold my breath, though.

  23. En Passant says:

    nlp wrote Aug 5, 2013 @1:39 pm:

    I don't have a senator on that committee, but Ms Coakley shall be hearing from me.

    Good luck with that. Hope you don't wind up on her list of people to find any lame excuse to prosecute.

  24. barry says:

    Not allowing anyone to fit wheels to their motor vehicles would also reduce child sex trafficking.

  25. different Jess says:

    @En Passant:

    Actually, my reading of Ms. McNeill is the reason I quoted "pimp".

  26. SKT says:

    I suck and I'm a lying devil worshiper. And I'm going to kick my ass.

    I'll understand if you're forced asked to remove my post, Ken.

  27. En Passant says:

    different Jess wrote Aug 5, 2013 @4:25 pm:

    Actually, my reading of Ms. McNeill is the reason I quoted "pimp".

    Dang! I'm getting slow. Forgot the sekrit scare quote code. It'll come in handy after they expand 47 U.S.C. § 230(e)(1) to the states.

  28. Jeremy says:

    Why do people only think of the children when an adult penis is involved? When future un-payable taxes to finance currently easy lifestyles are involved, no one bats an eye.

    In one case, a child is at risk for severe mental problems when they're older.
    In the other, they might not have enough food to eat when they're older.

    Both are bad, obviously, but people only care about the former.

  29. Clownius says:

    Ok guys can America do the rest of the Internet a favor please.

    Unplug your International links.

    The amount of censorship slipping past your borders is getting insane. That or shoot a few politicians so the rest learn their place.

    In fact i prefer the second option. Seriously this is getting out of control. Maybe you guys and the UK can share an Internet (highly censored and child friendly of course) and the rest of the world have a free one.

  30. Hulinut says:

    @Barry: Outlawing all forms of combustible fuel would probably be a more effective approach. I'm sure we'll be fine without them, not like our society depends on them or anything!

  31. Rich Fiscus says:

    @different Jess

    Sadly few people will notice George Mason's reaction. Chances are most of the people who even know his name today probably only know it from the university. He never came up in my history classes. In my daughter's AP US History class last year the teacher only briefly mentioned him. I made sure to correct that.

  32. A_Lurker says:

    I wonder if they are more afraid of someone pointing out they live in glass houses. Section 230 does not absolve the poster of any responsibility for their statements. The allows for robust, if at time raucous discussions about a post.

  33. Jim Tyre says:

    As Ken mentions, section 230 was passed as a part of the (largely notorious) Communications Decency Act. In the first "internet" case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, the bulk of the CDA was held to be unconstitutional, and rightly so. But Section 230 wasn't a part of that case, and clearly is constitutional. Basically, 230 had nothing to do with the rest of the CDA. Another example, for better or worse (I heart section 230) of Congress putting a bunch of unrelated things into a single Bill.

  34. Rich Fiscus says:

    @Clownius

    Can you guys outside the US have your leaders tell ours to take go fuck themselves? Seriously, that's how I see this ending almost inevitably. Government's around the world continue to let the US push them around for absolutely no discernible benefit.

    Our leaders think the rest of the world can't do without us. The kindest thing the rest of the world can do for the American people is a sucker punch right in the economy.

  35. gramps says:

    Quiet Lurker: Me thinks the underlying idea is to stop this foolish circulation of unfiltered news and comment, you know, the kind that puts information out there that the MSM doesn't think we need to have. Think of how many of the "scandals", or phoney scandals, could have been averted if only the authorities could have bogged down the blogs with ceaseless litigation.

    That's where all this is going….

  36. Rich Fiscus says:

    You know state AG's seem to spend so much time thinking about the children I'm starting to wonder if they aren't just a bunch of pedophiles.

  37. Clownius says:

    What worries me is its not just the US but now the UK seems to be rushing off to scream THINK OF THE CHILDREN to try and justify continued censorship of the Internet. Its not even censorship by stealth anymore.

    Hell here in Australia we had that nutcase Conroy try the same thing a few years back until his little list leaked.

    Time and again we see THINK OF THE CHILDREN used as an excuse to censor the Internet. But when the facts come to life we find whats really happening is the real target is protection of a powerful special Interest group or political speech. Funny how a little light on the matter usually roundly defeats these things. They are trying to make sure nothing comes to light.

    For example with this bill we can shut down every forum or comment section on the web right now. No non-owner posting. Its just too risky for the owner. They can be held liable for every random nut on the Internet. It doesn't just affect Americans. If it was that simple all hosting would just move offshore and wouldn't that be great for the American economy.

    There is an alarming tendency for these sorts of laws to get bundled into FTA's etc and massive threats to be used to make them world law. Thats before you even go into cases where the US laws on the Internet and the idea if the page is veiwable in the USA by any means its a US case.

    The sad part is many countries including Australia where i live dont have such strong legal protections for Freedom of Speech as exists in the USA. But somehow we manage to keep our speech free. This will just be another nail in the coffin.

  38. Clownius says:

    @ Rich Fiscus

    Watch out you will get poor Ken locked up saying such things lol

  39. Pedant says:

    Dammit! Does no one care about the ponies anymore? Ponies are trafficked across state lines every day!

  40. Quiet Lurcker says:

    @gramps –

    Ya know, that hadn't crossed my mind until you mentioned. Now that you do, it makes a scary kind of sense.

    I know the lame-stream media have this nasty tendency to edit in favor of sensationalism and/or bias, be it liberal, conservative, or what-have-you. I also know they don't always get their basic research and facts right; that's human nature.

    But what about the uh, people, giving out the info in the first place? Who's to say they aren't shading the facts one way or other for [INSERT REASON HERE]?

    Here's an idea for how to deal with some of the problem. We pass a constitutional amendment (as near as I can tell, this is the only tool available that will have a chance of standing up long-term) that states that 1) NO information can be held secret, with VERY narrowly tailored exceptions for military and diplomatic matters, certain personnel matters in the case of appointed/hired officials, and nothing else; and 2) that the deliberations of the legislature and the texts of all measures introduced MUST be published in full subject to the same narrow exceptions as point 1 without being redacted or edited in public media on a daily basis. Of course, there would have to be enabling legislation….

    Those who have read the Constitution will realize that this latter already exists in part – the congress is mandated to keep a journal of their activities and (I *THINK*) make it available for examination.

    I'm not going to say this will fix the entire problem, but it might just help the peepul, bless their lazy, ignorant little hearts, to get a better picture of what their government is doing.

  41. ZarroTsu says:

    My first thought as I read the "Think of the Children!" paragraph –

    'How would children victim to trafficking be able to read blog comments in the first place to be insulted by them?'

    Mine is a blissful kind of ignorance.

  42. Dan Weber says:

    Anonymous speech enjoys some protections, but nowhere near the protections of other speech. I know the EFF says otherwise, but the EFF is an advocacy organization, not a truth organization. (And that's okay, but don't confuse them for a truth organization.)

  43. perlhaqr says:

    But we can trust law enforcement.

    Can't we?

    No.

  44. Jim Tyre says:

    Dan Weber,

    There's no doubt that EFF sometimes advocates to change the law. But please point me to a relevant example of when EFF has stated what the law is and has been wrong.

  45. Xoshe says:

    While I agree that the situation here is very bad for everyone, I'm suddenly finding myself wondering why there's a need for Section 230 at all.

    My understanding is that the effective result of Section 230 is inherent in any non-internet gathering; If someone were to show up at a political rally and start uttering hate speech, the rally organizers are not held accountable for that, right? If someone spraypainted racial slurs on the side of a building, the landlord isn't held accountable (beyond the costs of removal), right?

    So, if the idea that an organizer or owner isn't held accountable for the actions of random people who might show up at their event or place of business, why is there a need for a different law to give the same protections to digital places, just because it "Happens On The Internet"?

  46. Ken White says:

    Xoshe:

    Prior to Section 230 a web site could be treated as the publisher of content left by members — a comment on a blog, a post on a forum, etc.

    Now it isn't.

  47. Rich Fiscus says:

    @Dan Weber: Spoken like someone who's avoiding the question. I never mentioned the EFF. I think they're a great organization but I can think for myself just fine, better than most in fact.

    Regardless of whether it's constitutional or not my question stands. What rational argument do you have that justifies wide scale censorship?

  48. Jim Tyre says:

    Xoshe and Ken,

    Let me flesh this out a bit.

    Suppose Xoshe writes a letter to the editor of the Los Angeles Times newspaper which (assuming for the sake of argument) clearly libels Patrick Non-White. If the Times prints that letter in the dead tree edition then, depending on circumstances, both Xoshe and the Times could be liable for libel to PN-W.

    But if the Times publishes that letter only in the online edition, then, even if Xoshe is liable for libel to PN-W, the Times is immune under Section 230.

    Whether PN-W is libel-proof is beyond the scope of this discussion. '-)

  49. Dan Weber says:

    1. The EFF claims that the right to anonymous free speech has been "repeatedly" protected by SCOTUS, but they don't mention Doe v Reed at all.

    2. The EFF's entire effort with CISPA. It got them lots of donations, so they are happy with their performance. (This isn't an endorsement of CISPA.) One specific example is their claim that the law would allow companies to "hack back" at others.

    Really, there are other groups out there promoting civil liberties. Whatever the EFF may once have been, they now appear to be in the mode of generating outrage and thus dollars for themselves. The Iron Law Of Institutions has claimed another victim. Good news, there are other groups out there.

  50. Rliyen says:

    I skipped the letter and check the signatories, repeating the mantra, "Please let my state not be included…" Then, I saw Buddy Caldwell's name.

    CRAP!

  51. Rich Fiscus says:

    @Xoshe:

    People, including judges, are simply not driven by reason and logic. Your perception of right and wrong is nothing more than the result of positive or negative emotions. Even those of us who think more rationally do so because it makes us happy.

    Negative emotions are by far the most powerful. When we see whatever we consider injustice we feel compelled to punish somebody for it. The thought of not being able to mete out punishment makes you feel worse. If you don't step back and think things through rationally (most people just don't) it feels just as good to punish the wrong person as the right one.

  52. Rich Fiscus says:

    @Dan Weber:

    Okay. We get it. Your straw man was no match for your rhetorical might. He's dead. Vanquished. He is an ex-straw man.

    Now that we've gotten that out of the way can you please tell us what your rational argument in favor of censoring blog comments is. Alternatively an explanation of why it wouldn't be censorship would be a good start.

    Ad hominem attacks against the EFF add absolutely nothing of substance to anyone's understanding of the issue at hand.

  53. Xoshe says:

    Ken & Jim:

    Thank you for the clarification. I had forgotten about that aspect of the presentation of UGC.

  54. Katherine says:

    Oh goody…something else to work into my America Pie parody….

    http://pastebin.com/QtSPc1qL

    I keep hoping that either Congress will stop giving me material or somebody will pick it up and turn it into an actual song.

  55. Careless says:

    But somehow we manage to keep our speech free.

    That would be the Australia that bans films, correct?

  56. barry says:

    Everywhere bans films for various reasons for various meanings of 'ban'.

  57. Castaigne says:

    @Joel: "Given the incredibly tenuous connection between Section 230 and child prostitution cases, we should be asking who is really pushing for this (I all but guarantee these guys are pushing for this on someone else's behalf) and for what purpose?"

    Most probable answer: ALEC.
    Most probable purpose: It will put a lot of money into corporate pockets.

    @Quiet Lurcker: "We pass a constitutional amendment (as near as I can tell, this is the only tool available that will have a chance of standing up long-term) that states that 1) NO information can be held secret, with VERY narrowly tailored exceptions for military and diplomatic matters, certain personnel matters in the case of appointed/hired officials, and nothing else; and 2) that the deliberations of the legislature and the texts of all measures introduced MUST be published in full subject to the same narrow exceptions as point 1 without being redacted or edited in public media on a daily basis."

    I can easily go with (2). But tell me, how would you maintain ANY intelligence apparatus with (1)? Since intelligence and espionage do not fall under either military or diplomatic matters, that would mean that any informant or spy's actual information would need to be made completely public. I think that would be quite problematic.

  58. Clownius says:

    @barry

    I believe your alluding to refusing classification on some films meaning it cant be played in public or sold in a store?

    Yes nanny does that occasionally. Im not sure it 100% qualifies as a ban though as such films re still readily available if you look for them. But yes it is a problem. Its also really really inconsistent.

  59. Clownius says:

    @careless my bad

    wish i had an edit button

  60. Quiet Lurcker says:

    @Castaigne –

    >>Since intelligence and espionage do not fall under either military or diplomatic matters, that would mean that any informant or spy's actual information would need to be made completely public. I think that would be quite problematic.

    That's…kinda the point, though I was working from the unspoken assumption that some espionage was necessary in pursuit of war-time success.

    'War-time' here is defined as that period in which military activities are sanctioned by actual legislation which contains the expression, "The United States is/are at war with…" and then goes on to state the name of our declared enemies, and winds up with language directing the intended outcomes.

    Outside of that set of circumstances, I want espionage to be as cussedly difficult as can be managed. In light of the recent revelations regarding NSA snooping into 'meta-data', capturing e-mail and now (per reports on Fox News – mentioned in passing, so I have no further information) entire phone conversations; cops using smart-phone GPS data, license plate scanners, and similar technologies quite probably in contravention of the 4th amendment *as it is written*; I see an overwhelming need to reign in our government, and rather sharply at that.

    Severely limiting espionage and mandating unredacted public reporting of the acts of our government are just a couple of the many tools (including, among others, mandatory instruction at all grade levels and in all schools, public, private, and other, in how the government actually works, reading comprehension, and economics, for example) I would bring to bear on the problem.

  61. Neo says:

    This was nothing more than than fodder for the signing AGs' stump speeches and comments to the media. Congress isn't going to gut 230 to appease state Attoeneys General eyeing other public office. Even as recently as 2010, the final draft of the SPEECH Act was amended prior to enactment to include 230 as a bar to enforcement and declaratory relief for foreign libel judgments in all US courts. That bill was enacted unanimously in both houses and exhibits the stong support for 230 by the House and Senate as well as the Judiciary Committees through which any proposed changes must pass.

  62. Zubon says:

    You know, we did this as blogger April Fool's joke a few years back…

  63. Castaigne says:

    @Quiet Lurcker: That's…kinda the point, though I was working from the unspoken assumption that some espionage was necessary in pursuit of war-time success.

    'War-time' here is defined as that period in which military activities are sanctioned by actual legislation which contains the expression, "The United States is/are at war with…" and then goes on to state the name of our declared enemies, and winds up with language directing the intended outcomes. Outside of that set of circumstances, I want espionage to be as cussedly difficult as can be managed.

    That would be where we differ then. I see espionage as something the USA does very badly and frankly does not have enough of. We need more spies embedded in every government on this planet, including those of our allies. ESPECIALLY those of our allies. We need to redact the prohibition against assassination of foreign individuals. We need to practice better intelligence gathering on all levels and stop treating ELINT as a substitute for HUMINT. Also, we need to go back to paying people for secrets, which we no longer do.

    Note that my reference is explicitly to foreign espionage, as espionage in its truest definition is directed at foreign sources. Surveillance of the citizenry is an internal security issue and if you want to eliminate all internal security, have at it. Won't bother me none at all.

    I frankly do not understand your limitation of espionage to war-time, though. In war-time, you do not utilize espionage; the time for espionage and diplomacy is over. Espionage-type activities in war-time are solely handled by special forces team, like the British SAS or our SEALS, and are mostly limited to sabotage and specific strikes against hardened targets. It's also remarkably difficult to insert agents into foreign government and command structures after we're at war with them; ideally you want them securely placed before you start the war – and preferably to use them to make war unnecessary by handing you data that will give you an edge diplomatically over the enemy.

    But at any rate, to reveal publicly the names and addresses of our agents in the highest levels of the Russian or Chinese government (for instance) in the name of transparency and no classified data…no, can't get behind that. We need those assets. We need those secrets.

  64. Quiet Lurcker says:

    @Castaigne –

    I understand and sympathize with your thinking, surprise, surprise, and in many ways agree with your premise: that we need to protect our national security in time of war and in time of peace.

    I have much tolerance for a wide range of activities, both known and not known, before, during, and after war – placement/management/use of HUMINT assets for example – in pursuit of those interests. It's an acceptable act by any nation-state, dating back to the pre-Christian middle east and before.

    What I have absolutely zero tolerance for is the the shenanigans that our government has been up to of late. The government has been using this 'war on terror' as an ill-constructed, worse-conceived fig-leaf to cover a wide range of activities affecting/targeting innocent people who have nothing to do with terror or even violence that are profoundly wrong, morally, socially, ethically, and most important, legally. I think the People (meaning the voting public here) have given the government a narrow inch and the government has taken several country miles. Sadly, I think that in the interest of putting things to rights, all espionage and similar activities will have to be stopped at least until much, MUCH stronger protections for innocent citizens/visitors to our country can be put into place.

  65. Castaigne says:

    @Quiet Lurcker: Sadly, I think that in the interest of putting things to rights, all espionage and similar activities will have to be stopped at least until much, MUCH stronger protections for innocent citizens/visitors to our country can be put into place.

    The problem I have with this is that it is impossible to put stronger protections in place. The ability to do these things is inherent to the technology that allows it to be done. You might be able to watchdog American government from using it by keeping them perpetually exposed, but corporations will continue to use it mercilessly. Or criminal organizations. Or private citizens. Or anyone; all it takes is a decent modicum of processing power. You might be able to prevent anyone in the USA from using the technology in this fashion, but that would do nothing to stop other countries – who would then have that advantage over us, and who would then use it mercilessly.

    The genie has been out of the bottle since 1997. You can't put it back in or restrain it in any but the most showmanship or ineffectual of fashions. The only stronger protection you can truly have is if you somehow banned and destroyed all technology that allowed it, and then prevented it from ever being built or researched ever again. Not really possible.

    We should instead learn to use it to our advantage over other nations and exploit accordingly to maintain American superiority.

  1. August 10, 2013

    […] Florida officials support a campaign to give them more power; what a surprise!  “Adding just two words to one of the nation's first online laws might step up the war against prostitutes, pimps and child sex traffickers…police and prosecutors in nearly every state…are calling on Congress to amend the Communications Decency Act of 1996 so state laws can be used to bring charges against websites such as Backpage…”  Ken White explains why this would be a spectacularly bad idea: […]

  2. August 19, 2013

    […] "Law Enforcement Wants To Weaken Section 230: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" [websites' immunity for content left by visitors; Popehat] […]