Sunday, August 05, 2018

Virginia senator proposes much more responsibility for platforms to stop "disinformation", including automated tools, to keep Section 230 protections

Senator John Warner (D-VA) has circulated a white paper that proposes more regulation of Internet platforms.

The three major areas are (1) disinformation propagation, especially by the largest social media platforms but maybe not limited just to them (2) consumer privacy protection and data ownership (maybe portability) and (3) anti-trust. Here is his link

The disinformation issue he sees as destabilizing to democracy itself, partly because the extreme asymmetry of Internet "news" and propagation. 
On July 31, Mike Masnick of Tech-Dirt wrote an analysis of these proposals, here

Warner seems to want tech platforms to use more automated tools to screen for some kinds of “dignitary torts” (which vary by states), before counting on Section 230 protection.  One obvious problem is that it is easier to screen by child pornography by watermarking images and videos already identified (and this idea probably applies to FOSTA), than libel or privacy invasion claims which are so context dependent.  Masnick talks about “border” speech which is lawful and may bring a defamation claim in some kinds of contexts but not others.  (Bad reviews, for example.)
Masnick also says that any such reforms would need federal reform of SLPAA, and a federal SLPAA law.

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