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The Supreme Court questions Section 230 of the legal shield



Internet giants such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter owe much of their success to the legal shield that was erected by Congress in 1996.

Known as Section 230, it has been called the base that launched Big Tech. Although it did not gain much attention at the time, it is now seen as one of the pillars of the massively open, global Internet we know today.


While newspapers and television stations can be held liable for any false and harmful content they publish or broadcast, online platforms are treated differently under Section 230.

Congress passed a special free speech rule to protect the new world of online communications. It said: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service will be treated as a publisher or spokesperson for any information provided by another information content provider.”

Law professor and author Jeff Kosev called Section 230 “The 26 Words That Created the Internet” because it allowed websites to develop freely as platforms for other people’s words, images, and videos.

The matter has gone unchallenged in the Supreme Court – until now.

This week, judges will hear two cases that may finally breach that legal shield and dramatically change the rules of the online game.


They are expected to hear a third case later this year related to Internet companies’ First Amendment rights amid government efforts to regulate them.

the The case is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday It began with a lawsuit filed by a California family against Google and YouTube for allegedly aiding and abetting an act of international terrorism. Their daughter, Naomi Gonzalez, was killed in Paris in November 2015 when Islamic State terrorists opened fire on a restaurant where the 23-year-old student was dining with two of his friends. It was part of an ISIS attack in the city that killed 129 people.

Their lawsuit alleged that Google, which owns YouTube, “knowingly allowed ISIS to publish hundreds of extremist videos inciting violence and recruiting potential supporters to join ISIS forces.” Furthermore, they claimed that YouTube “recommended endorsement of ISIS videos to users”.

The subject of contention on Tuesday is only their second claim. Can YouTube be sued for the algorithms it created to direct users to similar content – in this case allegedly directing potential terrorists to other ISIS videos? Or does Article 230 protect them from such allegations?

More than forty technology companies, internet scholars and free speech advocates filed amicus curiae briefings arguing that internet companies should not be held responsible for using computer programs that direct users to content they may find interesting.


“It’s the recommendation algorithms that make it possible to find the needles in humanity’s largest haystack,” said Washington attorney Lisa S. Platt, Google and YouTube representative. She warned that opening the door to lawsuits over algorithms “threatens to upend the modern internet”.

A federal judge dismissed the family’s lawsuit based on Section 230, and the divided Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision in 2021.

Until this period, the Supreme Court had refused to hear appeals regarding the law. However, Justice Clarence Thomas has on several occasions called for the “curtailment of the blanket immunity that courts have read in Section 230”, particularly in cases where websites have been known to be spreading dangerous falsehoods or criminal schemes.

Some prominent liberals, including Ninth Circuit Court Justices Marsha Pierzon and Ronald Gould, have also called for reducing the scope of Section 230.

They are joined by advocates — liberal and conservative — who portray the Internet as a hotbed of misinformation and hate speech, home to stalkers and scammers and a contributor to teen suicides and mass shootings. Critics also say that social media companies are getting rich and keeping viewers online by amplifying the most extreme claims and the most angry voices.


Google and other tech companies were caught off guard in October when the Supreme Court voted for the first time to hear a direct challenge to Section 230 and determine whether websites like YouTube could be sued for their use of algorithms and targeted recommendations.

Their alarm grew in December when the Biden administration sided with plaintiffs in Gonzales v. Google and said YouTube could be sued over algorithms that “recommend” more videos to viewers.

The DOJ attorneys said the Ninth Circuit court made an error in dismissing the suit, and asked for a new understanding of Section 230. They agreed that the websites are protected from liability for displaying content provided by others, including ISIS videos, but they said they were. Not protected for their “behaviour” in recommending more videos to watch.

And they wrote in their file: “When YouTube presents a user with a video that you did not request to view, it implicitly tells the user that they will be interested in that content based on the video, account information, and its characteristics.”

Several experts in Internet law said they were baffled by the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case and disturbed by what it might mean.


“The Internet needs regulation. We need to be able to find what we’re looking for,” said Eric Goldman, a professor of law at Santa Clara University. If websites can’t sort content based on algorithms, he said, “the network won’t be efficient internet.

Platt, a Google attorney, said, “YouTube does not endorse videos in the sense of endorsing them, any more than Google Search endorses search results. YouTube shows videos that may be more relevant to users.”

On Wednesday, the court will hear a related case, but one focused solely on whether Facebook, Google and Twitter can be sued for aiding international terrorists.

Congress in 2016 expanded the Anti-Terrorism Act to allow lawsuits to be brought by victims or survivors against anyone who “knowingly provided substantial assistance” to someone who committed an act of international terrorism.

The American family of a Jordanian national who was killed in an ISIS attack on the Reina nightclub in Istanbul in 2017 has sued Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, accusing them of aiding and abetting the killing. They said ISIS maintained public accounts on all three social media platforms and used them to recruit members.


The Ninth Circuit cleared the allegation moving forward, but the Department of Justice and social media companies said that was a mistake. They said the suit should be dismissed because the plaintiffs could not prove that the online platforms provided “significant assistance” to the terrorist who carried out the mass shooting.
It’s not entirely clear why the court agreed to hear the second case, Twitter vs. Tamna, but the justices may have decided they faced two questions: Can a social media site be prosecuted for aiding terrorists? And if so, can it be held responsible for directing viewers to ISIS videos?

It’s unclear whether the justices will split along the usual ideological lines when it comes to debating Section 230, which includes liberals and conservatives on both sides.

The biggest question still pending before the court may be: Can states regulate the internet and penalize social media companies for what they post or remove from their sites?

That clash began with a sharp partisan tone. Republican leaders in Texas and Florida adopted laws two years ago that allow fines and damages suits against Facebook, Twitter and other large social media sites if they “censor” or discriminate against conservatives. In signing the measure, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the law was intended to “protect against Silicon Valley elites”.

Before the laws became effective, they were challenged on free speech grounds and suspended based on the First Amendment, not Section 230.


The justices will almost certainly agree to review one or both of the laws because appeals court judges, both appointed by President Trump, have been divided on a key constitutional issue.

Judge Kevin Newsom of the Eleventh Circuit Court in Atlanta blocked most of the Florida law from going into effect. He said the First Amendment “restricts government agencies and protects private agencies.” Social media sites are private companies, “and, with minor exceptions, the government simply cannot tell a private person or entity what or how to say it.”

Shortly thereafter, Judge Andrew Oldham of the Fifth Circuit Court in New Orleans upheld the Texas law because the state sought to protect Texas’ free speech rights. Oldham, a former counsel to Texas Governor Greg Abbott and law clerk to Judge Samuel Alito Jr., said it was a “rather strange inversion on the First Amendment” to say that social media platforms have “the right to silence speech. … We reject the idea that corporations First Amendment right freely to censor what people say.”

Last month, the Supreme Court asked the Department of Justice to consider the issue, and that will cause cases to be delayed until the fall.

If, as expected, the U.S. Attorney’s office presents its view of the issue by June, the justices will likely schedule one or both cases for a hearing in the fall.


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Gordon E. Moore, founder of Intel and founder of Moore’s Law, dies at 94




Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel and creator of Moore’s Law – the mantra of boundless technological development that came to define the digital age – has died at the age of 94.

Moore died Friday at his home in Hawaii, according to the company and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

From humble roots as the son of the mayor of Pescadero, California, Moore went on to create Intel, one of the greatest technological powers of the 20th century.


Moore, who was trained as a chemist, was an early pioneer in the creation of integrated circuits, the silicon chips that came to form the backbone of modern technology.

He was among a small group of engineers and scientists, including Nobel laureate William Shockley, one of the co-inventors of the transistor, and Robert Noyce, the co-inventor of the integrated circuit, who put silicon into Silicon Valley.

But what set Moore apart from many of his legendary peers was that he also possessed a combination of skills that extended far beyond mere technique.

As Intel’s chairman, Moore has guided the company with the demeanor of a local and the spirit of a Las Vegas gambler.

Taking the risky path came naturally to him, though he always maintained that his risks were obvious choices to be made.


“This is a fast-moving business,” he once said in an interview. “Unless you are willing to take technical and financial risks, you are doomed. Things change so quickly, if you don’t, you die.”

Moore described himself as an “accidental entrepreneur”, although the success of Intel—and Moore’s status as one of the richest men in the country due to his Intel holdings—belied his modest assessment.

Although Moore’s co-founding of the microprocessor giant in 1968 cemented his place in the history of modern technology, he may be best known for what has come to be known as Moore’s Law.

In 1965, Moore made the simple observation that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit seemed to double every year.

The integrated circuit was invented just seven years ago, and the most anyone could etch on the thin silicon wafers that would fuel the growth of the electronics industry was about 50 transistors.


Looking at a graph of chip development, Moore stretched the line forward 10 years and predicted that by 1975 there would be 65,000 transistors on a single silicon chip. It seemed an oddly high number at the time, but Moore was right on target.

Moore modified his prediction several times during his life, eventually settling on the prediction that the number of transistors would double every 18 to 24 months rather than every year.

But even though the exact formula for Moore’s Law has changed, the spirit of rapid technological progress has remained constant. It became the dogma of the electronic world and a mantra for the Deguerati eagerly awaiting the next great thing.

Moore wrote in 1965: “Integrated circuits will do wonders as home computers – or at least terminals connected to a mainframe, automatic controllers for cars, and portable personal communications equipment.”

The descendants of the first raw chips Moore designed went on to power personal computers, cars, cell phones and even watches.


“It’s funny how Moore’s Law is what he’s best known for,” he said in a 1997 interview with Business Week. “It was just a relatively minor observation.”

The accuracy of Moore’s Law has become the cornerstone of business planning in the electronics industry.

Gordon Earl Moore almost fits the image of a prophet of the digital age. He was quiet and down-to-earth, an unassuming, slightly balding scholar who kept a little bit of his small-town roots in the midst of the pace of Silicon Valley.

Moore was born in San Francisco on January 3, 1929, to Walter and Florence Moore. The family eventually settled in Pescadero, about 30 miles south, where his father was the district’s deputy chief of police.

Moore seemed destined for an academic career after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, with a BA in Chemistry in 1950 and a PhD in Chemistry and Physics from Caltech in 1954.


After a short stint at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Baltimore, he went to work in 1956 for Shockley, who had formed his own company, Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, to develop the transistor. Shockley was a heavy-handed, moody and volatile manager. After working for only a year, Moore and most of Shockley’s top scientists revolted.

The “Traitorous Eight,” as Shockley called them, split off and started Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957. The creation of Fairchild was one of the crucial turning points in the history of electronics, allowing Moore and others to pursue research that helped their partner, Robert Noyce, to devise a commercially viable process for miniaturizing circuits Complete on a silicon chip – integrated circuit.

Moore and Noyce left Fairchild in 1966 and two years later set up their own company to exploit integrated circuit development. They named their company Integrated Electronics but later shortened it to Intel.

With the help of Arthur Rock, Silicon Valley’s first horde of venture capitalists, Noyce and Moore easily raised $2.3 million and got in on the act. Noyce served as CEO of the new company with Rock as President and Moore as Executive Vice President.

Intel began manufacturing memory chips and rising to profitability by embracing the company’s strategy of innovating at a rapid pace so that it could command a premium for its products.


Moore took over as CEO of Intel in 1975, a few years before his company began being affected by the influx of cheap memory chips from Japanese manufacturers that had commoditized Intel’s flagship product.

Intel started losing money and laying off workers. By the mid-1980s, Intel was beginning to lag behind the very industry that had created it.

By 1985, even Moore was starting to look bleak. Moore told shareholders at the time that the economic downturn was “probably the greatest in the history of the semiconductor industry.”

“We’re taking the excesses out of the red-hot electronics industry,” he said. “What happened? Lady Fortune frowned. Intel should be well up and ready when Dame Fortune smiles again.”

In 1984 and 1985, Intel was still spending more than $1 billion on chip manufacturing equipment and facilities. It was all part of Moore’s belief that staying ahead of the curve was key to success and the company would eventually bounce back.


Moore and the company’s president, Andrew S. Grove, set about refocusing Intel away from cheap memory chips to high-margin microprocessors—the brains of the computer.

In 1987, Moore stepped down as CEO of Grove, though he remained active in directing the company as president.

Moore has also served himself as a member of the Caltech Board of Trustees and as a patriarch of the electronics industry.

In 1950, Moore married Betty Irene Whitaker, who survived him. Moore was also survived by sons Kenneth and Stephen and four grandchildren.


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Shou Zi Chew switched to Fancams after a congressional hearing




Compilations of thirsty videos and comments dedicated to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew began appearing on the platform after the CEO Congressional testimony Yesterday, when he spent five hours defending the platform before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

On TikTok, fan edits dedicated to the 40-year-old declared him the “TikTok daddy” and “the best CEO of our generation.”

Qiu was at the head of questions lawmakers had about the future of the popular video-sharing app, which currently has more than 150 million monthly users in the US alone.

Both Democratic and Republican politicians have expressed concerns about the app’s China-based parent company and what that means for user safety, data privacy, and national security. Some legislators have named The platform to be banned in the US due to concerns that its parent company, ByteDance, could or would share US user data with the Chinese government. In his testimony, Qiu said there was no evidence that the Chinese government had accessed user data.


Qiu Fei said written agreement that began his testimony.

There are currently three bills in Congress that could affect Americans’ access to TikTok. Two would pass legislation to strictly ban the platform, while the other would give the government the power to ban any technologies deemed a national security risk.

Yesterday’s session put TikTok’s CEO in the spotlight as he asserted that banning the app would be harmful to millions of American businesses, and that a new subsidiary named Texas Project It will provide a useful solution that will allow the application to remain active in the United States.

While lawmakers seemed unconvinced, Chew’s defense of the app, including his praise for sub-communities within the app, such as “BookTok,” a community for people to discuss reading recommendations, seemed to strike a chord with those who found inspiration on the platform.

Online, a growing group of creators seemed to admire Chew’s performance despite his hearing-strained nature and showed their admiration in the most colorful of ways: by creating edits and fan memos.


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Talk of selling or banning TikTok complicates Sino-US relations




The latest clash between the United States and China over popular social media app TikTok is likely to worsen already strained relations between the two countries, as Beijing and Washington wrestle over software bans, technology exports and concerns about espionage and national security.

Last week, the Biden administration She renewed Trump-era efforts To allay security concerns about TikTok, which was created by Chinese tech giant Bytedance Ltd. , by demanding that the widely popular app be sold from Chinese ownership or face a possible ban in the United States on Thursday, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said. It was bipartisan grilled by a House committee whose members asked specific questions about data security, alleged racial bias toward content creators and the platform’s mental health effects.


Chinese government, determined to transform domestic technology companies in world championssaid it would oppose any sale of TikTok.

Here the dispute stands.

How is China responding?

Hours before Qiu began testifying before a congressional committee on Thursday, Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Xu Jueting said that China They firmly oppose the demands US officials said TikTok would be sold, adding that any change in ownership must comply with Chinese regulations.

Xu said the forced sale would “seriously damage the confidence of investors from all over the world, including China, to invest in the United States.”

Commentators, in Chinese official and social media, criticized US lawmakers for their biased statements and questions at Qiu’s hearing. Others have dismissed the event as political theater, or accused the US of trying to steal the technology that powers TikTok’s addictive short video recommendations.


Last week, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the United States has no evidence that TikTok poses a threat to national security and should stop discriminating against foreign companies.

China has always emphasized that Data security issue It should not be used as a tool for certain countries to popularize the concept of national security and abuse of state power to unreasonably oppress other countries’ companies.”

But some analysts question how far Beijing will go to protect TikTok. Angela Chang, director of the Center for Chinese Law at the University of Hong Kong, said that while the Chinese government has taken action to prevent the sale of TikTok and its underlying technology without its consent, it is less concerned about a US ban on the app.

The ban on TikTok does not do much harm to China’s national interests become a technologically advanced countryZhang said. “TikTok will have to fight this battle alone.”

Can the US impose a sale or an embargo?

China’s announcement that it would block a sale complicates any US efforts to advance the deal, especially since Beijing added export restrictions on domestic technology in 2020 that require government approval.


Absent divestment, the Biden administration may be left with few options besides pursuing an outright ban on the app. The United States has already blocked the download and use of TikTok on some government agencies Because of national security concerns. Earlier this month, the White House passed a bill that would allow President Biden to completely ban the social media app.

The move renewed pressure dating back to 2020, when the Trump administration threatened to ban TikTok and WeChat, another popular Chinese app Used for social messaging and communication. Bytedance explored a potential sale of an ownership stake in TikTok to Oracle, which was never finalized. Federal courts have also challenged then-President Trump’s attempts to block the app a few years ago.

That year, India banned more than 50 Chinese apps, including TikTok, after escalating border skirmishes and growing concerns about Chinese military aggression. Governments in Britain, Canada and New Zealand have also restricted TikTok to government-owned devices.

Just what is the problem with TikTok?

According to TikTok, the app has about 150 million monthly active users in the US, but its widespread popularity has exacerbated suspicions among US officials that user data collected in the US could be transferred and used for espionage in China.

Republican and Democratic politicians in favor of selling or banning TikTok have cited concerns about the security of user data, and whether that information could be obtained by the Chinese government. They also took aim at TikTok’s history of content moderation, potential for spreading misinformation and Adverse effects on young peoplethe largest user base of the application.


To the American people watching today, hear this: TikTok is a weapon by the Chinese Communist Party to spy on you and manipulate and exploit what you see. [it] Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said during the hearing Thursday with TikTok CEO Chew.

In addition, Chew, who is Singaporean, faced questions about the charges Human rights violations in China and espionage, based on a Forbes report that Bytedance planned to use TikTok to monitor the locations of some US citizens.

In China, many US technology platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google have been blocked as part of the country’s strict internet censorship. Instead of TikTok, Chinese users have a sister version called Douyin, which is more strictly moderated than its overseas counterpart and limits the time young users can spend on the app.

Has TikTok addressed these concerns?

In his congressional appearance, Chew rejected the notion that TikTok was a tool of the Chinese Communist Party or a threat to US national security.

Let me state this unequivocally: ByteDance is not It is owned or controlled by the Chinese government. In his opening statement, Qiu said it is a private company.


He assured the committee that TikTok would prioritize teen safety, protect US user data from unauthorized foreign access, guarantee freedom of expression and provide access to independent monitors to ensure transparency.

Qiu also outlined the company’s proposal to alleviate concerns about Chinese government influence. He said the company spent nearly $1.5 billion implementing the plan, called Project Texas, which involves the use of Oracle cloud computing company To direct and store user data in the United States, which gives the Austin, Texas company access to some of its technology.

“Under this structure, there is no way for the Chinese government to access or force access to it,” he said.

But his five hours of testimony did little to assuage lawmakers’ concerns about the app.

Researcher David Shin in Taipei contributed to this report.


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