The US is now playing by China's internet rules

President Trump's crackdown on TikTok suggests that the US government is starting to see the internet more like China does — as a network that countries can and should control within their borders. Today's global internet has split into 

Remarks of Commissioner Rosenworcel at RightsCon Online 2020 on Section 230, Online Speech, and the FCC

On May 28, the President of the United States signed an Executive Order. Under this order—at the direction of the President—the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is filing a petition July 27 with the Federal Communications Commission. In it, the Administration is asking the FCC to come up with rules moderating online content. We are told to do so using a law known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

EFF to Court: Trump Appointee’s Removal of Open Technology Fund Leadership Is Unlawful

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) joined a group of 17 leading U.S.-based Internet freedom organizations (including the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society) in telling a federal appeals court that Trump administration appointee Michael Pack has no legal authority to purge leadership at the Open Technology Fund (OTF), a private, independent nonprofit that helps hundreds of millions of people across the globe speak out online and avoid censorship and surveillance by repressive regimes.

Chairman Pai's Response to Senators Regarding the Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship

On June 9, Sens Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Josh Hawley (R-MO) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, requesting the agency take a fresh look at Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and clearly define the criteria for which companies can receive protections under the statute. Social media companies have become involved in a range of editorial and promotional activity; like publishers, they monetize, edit, and otherwise editorialize user content.

Section 230 and the Twitter Presidency

In response to Twitter’s decision to label one of the President’s tweets misleading, the Trump White House issued an executive order to limit Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act via agency rulemaking. In the Order, President Donald Trump calls for the Federal Communications Commission to “interpret” Section 230 in a manner that curtails websites’ ability to remove and restrict user speech. This article analyzes the Order and concludes that this effort will fail. First, the FCC does not have rulemaking authority to issue the proposed rules.

Failing to renew VOA foreign staffers’ visas would devastate one of its core functions

Michael Pack, the alt-right filmmaker installed by President Donald Trump to run US foreign broadcasting operations, remains on course to dismantle the independent journalism that has been their calling card. Apparently, Voice of America sources say Pack is refusing to renew the visas of foreign-born journalists who are vital to its mission of producing news reports in 47 languages. Pack has also frozen all VOA contracts, under which some 40 percent of its staff are employed.

Could President Trump claim a national security threat to shut down the internet?

“I have the right to do a lot of things that people don’t even know about,” President Donald Trump said in a 2020 Oval Office exchange. One of those powers is his authority to shut down radio, television, both wireless and wired phone networks, and the internet. It is not a big step from using the power of the government to threaten free expression to actually doing something to curtail that expression. All it takes is a unilateral “proclamation by the President” of the existence of a “national emergency.”

Lots of Policymakers Hate Section 230 — But They Can't Agree On Why

Building a consensus to change Section 230 will be harder than it looks. The law’s critics have vastly different and sometimes incompatible ideas about how the law should work. Republican and Democratic policymakers alike have called for sites to bear more legal liability if users post illegal content.

Appointment of Michael Pack as CEO of US Agency for Global Media has put internet freedom projects in crisis mode

One of the US government’s strongest forces for internet freedom is in danger, and supporters are calling on the public for help. The Open Technology Fund (OTF), a small US organization devoted to protecting digital speech across the world, has helped support nearly all of the most prominent encryption projects at various points — including Signal, Tails, Qubes, and the Tor Project. But after the abrupt firing of the fund’s entire leadership team, current recipients say their contractually promised funding is now at risk.

Commissioner Starks Remarks on Section 230

Concerning President Donald Trump's Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship, I first want to talk about process and why the FCC needs to keep it from dragging out. Second, I want to move on to the question of the FCC’s rulemaking authority here. And finally, I want to raise some key questions around the substance of the Executive Order. 1) Given the role Section 230 has played in shaping American life online, we have to get this right. And we need to act quickly. 2) I am skeptical that there’s any role for the FCC here.