Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) became law long ago when it comes to internet time, way back in the 1990s. The main thrust of the CDA was an effort by Congress to regulate indecent content posted online. Section 230 was included within the CDA to provide general immunity to Internet service providers with respect to third-party content posted on their sites. While the indecency regulatory aspect of the CDA was struck down by the United States Supreme Court as violating the First Amendment, Section 230 survives to this day and has been the critical legal backbone that has allowed a good part of the Internet to flourish, especially social media. Continue reading What To Do About CDA Section 230 And ISP Immunity?
Technology companies collect all sorts of data on their users. The terms of service located on their web sites spell out for users the types of data collected and how that data will be used. The data collected from users is extremely useful for tech companies in terms of how to market to them further, and accordingly, that data has tremendous economic value.
Along comes the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, who according to APNews.com, has announced that California consumers should share in the billions of dollars that tech companies make on personal data they collect. Indeed, Governor Newsom reportedly has asked his aides to come up with a proposal for what has been referred to as a “data dividend” for California residents. However, it is not clear whether he envisions a tax on tech companies, refunds to users, or some other idea.
Question: How free is the internet? Answer: Less than free in certain countries. Further answer: And becoming even less free in other countries — witness Vietnam, discussed briefly below.
At the start of this month, a law went into effect in Vietnam that mandates removal of online content considered offensive to the Vietnamese government. According to SoyaCincau.com, the law was put on the books “under the pretenses” of Cybersecurity, but what it actually does is require the takedown of content deemed “toxic” by the government.
The Wire Act was enacted in 1961. That statute makes it a criminal offense to transmit information that seeks to promote interstate or foreign wagering.
Fast-forward to September, 2011: the Obama-era Justice Department rendered an opinion that only sports betting came with the ambit of the Wire Act. Prior to that, the Justice Department applied the statute to non-sports gambling.
One presidential candidate with the initials DT has claimed generally that “the system is rigged” and he has speculated in advance as to whether the election also might be rigged against him. At the first presidential debate, he did say that he would abide by the election result if the candidate with the initials HRC won the election.
But what does it mean to “win”? If the election result is a close one, and if she apparently tallies sufficient popular and electoral college votes to put her over the top, would he concede her victory if there are suggestions of hacking of voting systems? This question is posed because a recent Associated Press article asserts that hackers recently have targeted registration systems in greater than 20 states and cites a Homeland Security Department official for support for this assertion.
Before the explosion of online communications, our world necessarily was smaller and who we came in contact with tended to people we already knew. Then our ability to reach out and communicate with others expanded dramatically and exponentially as we all started traveling at warp speed down the information superhighway.
We learned that not only could we interact with people locally, but with a few keystrokes and mouse clicks we could be communicating with people across the country and even in countries on the other side of the globe. Part of the fun was our ability to communicate anonymously, using pseudonyms.
We could be informal, we could be creative, and we could reinvent ourselves. Indeed, most of us probably remember the cartoon with a dog in front of a monitor and a keyboard that had a caption which read: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Case law developed making clear that First Amendment protections extended to the right to speak freely and even anonymously on the Internet.
All well and good, right? Perhaps for the most part. The Internet has provided a medium that has led to many beneficial communications and interactions for personal, business, and other purposes. However, human nature is not always pure. From the beginning of human history, it seems there always have been some people intent on mischief and even violent behavior. And unfortunately, with the increased ability for people to contact others via the Internet, there also is a heightened possibility for such contacts to lead to terrible results.
Continue reading Be Afraid, Very Afraid Of Who You Meet Online?
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) generally affords immunity for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with respect to content posted by users on their websites. There have been various efforts by plaintiffs in lawsuits to chip away at this immunity, most of which have failed. Now along comes Doe v. Internet Brands, in which the plaintiff sought to convince the Ninth Circuit to circumvent CDA Section 230 immunity under a “duty to warn” theory.
The anonymous plaintiff, Jane Doe, alleged that she was a model who was enticed to travel to Florida by two men. The men drugged her, raped her, and then displayed this horrid event in a pornographic video.
Doe alleged that the two men initially found her by way of the website Model Mayhem, which she’d joined as a member. She asserted that Model Mayhem is a site that profiles hundreds of thousands of models, and that the owner of the site, Internet Brands, allegedly knew of the illegal scheme by the two men but nevertheless neglected to warn her of the potential harm. Continue reading 9th Circuit Resisting Efforts to Dilute CDA Section 230 ISP Immunity?