Friday, June 29, 2018

Litigation to stop FOSTA with an injunction filed in DC federal court, by EFF

Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced today it is assisting two human rights organizations, an activist for sex workers, and a massage therapist in litigation to get an injunction against FOSTA, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Sex Trafficking Act, main link here. The case is Woodhull Freedom Foundation vs. United States.  The PDF for the filing in Washington DC is here.  Woodhull's link is here
David Greene has an explanation of the litigation in a separate article here. 

The article discusses the erosion of Section 230, and the ambiguity of the law in what constitutes “participation in a venture”, with the terms “assisting, supporting, or facilitating.”  The broadening of a base law automatically reduces Section 230 downstream liability exclusion. The article also notes the enlargement of the law to facilitate online prostitution.

Facilitation of trafficking was already a violation of most platforms’ AUP’s or TOS, but a site or user would be shut down only when reported, not caught pro-actively. Even hosting companies have added trafficking to AUP’s, as well as forbidding activity like online pharmacies, or private weapons sales or sometimes instructions in weapons.  Social media companies and hosting companies are bracing for future erosion of Section 230 (and, correspondingly, copyright liability protections, as now in the EU with Article 13, etc) because of global pushback on free speech by tribalistic politics, with polarization of extremes on the right and left. 

Update: July 1

Jon Brodkin has a story in Ars Technica about the lawsuit. 

A site called "Erotic Review" blocked all access from the U.S. because of uncertainties created by the law (Brodkin story). 
Update: July 17

EFF reports that the hearing will take place at 4 PM July 19, address in the article. 

Woodhull et al offers a detailed explanation of the legal complaint and plea for injunction here

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