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Reblogged:Internet Safe, for Now

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Late last week, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in two cases that had the potential to destroy the legal foundation for the internet as we know it.

The below highlights the best part of this news, namely that the justices appreciate that (a) content moderation is a difficult problem, and (b) it is absurd to blame social media companies for aiding and abetting terrorism simply because some terrorists are among their billions of users:
Clarence Thomas authored the opinion. (Image by Steve Petteway (Supreme Court of the United States), via Wikimedia Commons, public domain as a work of the federal government.)
In this case, the failure to allege that the platforms here do more than transmit information by billions of people -- most of whom use the platforms for interactions that once took place via mail, on the phone, or in public areas -- is insufficient to state a claim that defendants knowingly gave substantial assistance and thereby aided and abetted ISIS' acts. A contrary conclusion would effectively hold any sort of communications provider liable for any sort of wrongdoing merely for knowing that the wrongdoers were using its services and failing to stop them. That would run roughshod over the typical limits on tort liability and unmoor aiding and abetting from culpability. [bold added]
I am no lawyer, but I bet the implications of a contrary ruling would have reached far beyond just communications. Cue the world's smallest violin for America's tort industry.

The bad news is that, while the Court spared Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Congress has its paws on it with a view towards "reform." The internet thus remains under threat, but at least it seems safe from a complete and sudden demolition at the hands of the Supreme Court, which is a relief.

-- CAV

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