You’re useless and you know it

Yup, quite the opening headline and  would like to tell the reader the it is about him or her, but no such luck, the headline (as is) can only be given to the most useless of useless, the US Senate. Yup, as some voices stated in the past, the US has fruits (US Congress) and nuts (US Senate) and there we sit in the middle of the tutti frutti of the dance floor, one might almost invite Madonna to come over and add a little spice to the mixture.

Yet Reuters who gives us (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-senate-tech/senate-panel-approves-sending-subpoenas-to-ceos-of-twitter-facebook-google-idUSKBN26M6FA) the headline ‘Senate panel approves sending subpoenas to CEOs of Twitter, Facebook, Google’, with the quote “The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday unanimously voted to approve a plan to subpoena chief executives of Twitter, Alphabet’s Google and Facebook for a hearing likely to be held before the election on a prized legal immunity enjoyed by internet companies”, We can go in every direction possible, but lets start with “passed into law as part of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 (a common name for Title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996), formally codified as Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 at 47 U.S.C. § 230. Section 230 generally provides immunity for website publishers from third-party content”, In this we see two elements, the first being that in 1996 there was no Google, no Twitter and no Facebook, in the second on larger beneficiary was the online presence of FoxNews, Yahoo and lets face it as I personally see it, Microsoft who started part of the mess we have now. 

To invoke what I did (the useless part), it is important to see “After passage of the Telecommunications Act, the CDA was challenged in courts and ruled by the Supreme Court in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union (1997) to be partially unconstitutional, leaving the Section 230 provisions in place. Since then, several legal challenges have validated the constitutionality of Section 230”, in this Justice John Paul Stevens (Supreme Court) wrote in June 1997: “We are persuaded that the CDA lacks the precision that the First Amendment requires when a statute regulates the content of speech. In order to deny minors access to potentially harmful speech, the CDA effectively suppresses a large amount of speech that adults have a constitutional right to receive and to address to one another. That burden on adult speech is unacceptable if less restrictive alternatives would be at least as effective in achieving the legitimate purpose that the statute was enacted to serve. … It is true that we have repeatedly recognized the governmental interest in protecting children from harmful materials. But that interest does not justify an unnecessarily broad suppression of speech addressed to adults. As we have explained, the Government may not “reduc[e] the adult population … to … only what is fit for children.””, as such how stupid does a US Senator tend to be? It passed the Supreme court, it passed a few stations over the term of 20 years and optional alleged beneficiaries (Google, Facebook, Twitter) are called into a Senate hearing? Some sources even state ‘Letting Platforms Decide What Content To Facilitate Is What Makes Section 230 Work’, the latter one is up for debate, but the setting of section 230 is not, it is a legal thing, so why would someone set the stage for a hearing the is basically pointless set the stage? To get a few free dinners and perhaps tax deductibility? I do not know, I merely ask.

The setting of a stage 40 days before election, is the current view and when we see “top Democrat Maria Cantwell, who opposed the move last week, saying she was against using “the committee’s serious subpoena power for a partisan effort 40 days before an election,” changed her mind and voted to approve the move” I wonder what this really is, because as I see it, it has nothing to do with big tech, and optionally section 230 is also not in play, but what is? There is the optional quote given “Republican President Donald Trump has made holding tech companies accountable for allegedly stifling conservative voices a theme of his administration. As a result, calls for a reform of Section 230 have been intensifying ahead of the elections, but there is little chance of approval by Congress this year”, yet optional settings of “stifling conservative voice” would not change that, this is about intentional hurting facilitation, changing the premise of free expression, the moment big tech is held responsible, no opinion is heard and the anti-Trump (those who highlight stupidity) is seen nearly everywhere, as such, President Trump needs every amount he can get. I do not think that this is the right path and more important changing law on this scale to bake (not make) awareness of something set almost in stone for 20 years does not help. 

In this I want to extend my friendliness to give a shout to the largest part of the problem, mainly Republican Senator Roger Wicker, even s he gives us “After extending an invite to these executives, I regret that they have again declined to participate and answer questions about issues that are so visible and urgent to the American people”, I merely wonder if he has any clue who the American people are. This train of thought is seen as Politico gives us “under the newly unveiled Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act, the legal shield would protect the companies only when they take down specific types of content, including material “promoting terrorism” or which promotes “self-harm” or is otherwise illegal”, as such, when was there an upside when we consider ‘specific types on content’, as I see it it the setting towards a biased filter of what constitutes free speech and freedom of expression. As such the simple question becomes: ‘Who has seen S.4534 – Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act? Deputy Counsel Elizabeth Banker did and gives us “Section 230’s otherwise objectionable clause underpins crucial content moderation efforts that make their platforms safer for everyone. Eliminating that clause will make it harder, not easier, for online services to remove content like misinformation, platform manipulation, or bullying that’s neither illegal nor in the bill’s new description of allowable moderation. This bill would also hamper platforms from adapting to future moderation challenges.“We also have serious First Amendment concerns with this bill. This bill would limit the ability of private online platforms and services, including small forums for schools, churches, and local sports leagues, to set and enforce rules for their communities.””, a direct powerful view given on September 8th (at https://internetassociation.org/news/statement-in-response-to-the-introduction-of-the-online-freedom-and-viewpoint-diversity-act/), as such we takeaway “Eliminating that clause will make it harder, not easier, for online services to remove content like misinformation, platform manipulation, or bullying” does this constitute the idea that the speculated biggest bully in America wants a free pass? And there are also “serious First Amendment concerns” which cannot be ignored. 

When we see this level of issues from the very beginning, how stupid is any senator participating in this, and when we demand under freedom of information their names and tell people that this lit constitutes a list of people attacking free speech, how happy will they be? There is of course the issue of the elected Democrat from the state of Washington Maria Cantwell, I wonder what she has to say for herself, especially it he hearing happens before the elections, I reckon that President Elect Biden will not have too much need for her, but that is merely my speculation.

 

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Filed under Law, Media, Politics

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