Monday, November 19, 2018

EU not making progress in trimming Article 13; Facebook's responsibilities become even murkier

Cory Doctorow has a new piece on Electronic Frontier Foundation, dated Nov. 16, showing little progress in narrowing the language of Article 13 especially in the EU trilogue. In fact, the idea that a filter need not be mandatory seems to be taken out. 
Cory has a similar article on Medium (see International Issues, Tuesday, Nov. 13).  In theory, if the EU proposals were adopted today in all 28 countries, hosting platforms would have to set up a separate Internet for the EU (as for China) or not allow EU users, to avoid having the rules apply in the US.

The Washington Post has an alarming editorial today on Facebook   in which the Post notes that FB shows possible bad faith in hiring a public relations firm, but also notes that tech regulation of speech (especially the “variable” hate speech issue) and of fake news begs for the government to regulate such speech, which would contradict the First Amendment (well, not completely, as “distribution” of speech is not necessarily protected the way content of speech is – a point that becomes clear if you realize that user generated content, for the most part, became possible in the 1990s).
Then Alex Stamos (Facebook chief security officer until August and professor at Stanford) writes an op-ed  today about Facebook, and his last paragraph, about the responsibilities of citizens, is the most important. 

What we have is a commons ecosystem problem.  An individual liberty (speech distribution, or self-defense – or in the 1980s, sex) that seems sacrosanct at a personal level becomes problematic when many people in a community engage in it and many are not literate or skilled or mentally stable enough to avoid harming others.  Are we looking at “licenses” for Internet use the way we do for driving cars?
In the near future, I hope to cover another growing problem: the dangerous intersection of “gratuitous speech” that others perceive as targeting “protected classes”. 

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