Monday, May 21, 2018

"New Company Shift Forum" panel looks at First Amendment erosion, and threats posed by Backpage FOSTA law



John Battelle, of the New Company Shift Forum, hosts a forum between Cindy Cohn (EFF), Carol Christ (UC Berkeley), and Nellie Bowles of the New York Times, on the First Amendment, “A Magic Shield that Lets You Be an A’Hole” with the curious byline, “Now that digital platforms drive physical conseqeunces, what does free speech mean anymore?”

The forum explains that the First Amendment controls government, but not private corporate censorship, or how platforms want to monitor users.

Cindy sums it up: “The Internet of the 1990s was about choosing your own adventure.  The Internet right now over the last 10 years is about somebody else choosing that adventure for you.”

Cindy also explains the harm of FOSTA, how it could apply even to a small site that accidentally allows an ad for sex trafficking slip through, even in a comment.  FOSTA, she says, will make it too risky for individuals or small companies to do startsups that allow users to input content, because there is no way to know in advance what might include sex trafficking – and she seems to feel that Congress believes that sacrifice from everyone is OK to protect vulnerable teenagers – except that it won’t work.

  
I don’t accept comments now with unresolvable or suspicious links that I can’t check.  But the volume of the issue for me is very low.  But what about people hosting me?  How could they know in advance what I (or anyone) could post?

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