The DOJ is set to announce a rollback on Protections that tech companies abuse to fight Law Enforcement on Encryption & more
In February Patently Apple posted a report titled "Legislation in the works could remove immunity that currently protects tech companies from having to Assist Law Enforcement." The report noted that the legislation could hurt technology companies’ ability to offer end-to-end encryption. Online platforms are currently exempted from letting law enforcement access their encrypted networks. The proposed legislation provides a workaround.
In March we posted a second report on the matter titled "Legislation targeting online sexual abuse is a double-edged sword that threatens online immunity Tech companies enjoy today."
Today Fox News and others are reporting that the Justice Department is set to propose a rollback of legal protections that online platforms have enjoyed for more than two decades, in an effort to make tech companies more responsible in how they police their content and more.
The department's proposed reforms, to be announced as soon as Wednesday, are designed to spur online platforms to be more aggressive in addressing illicit and harmful conduct on their sites, and to be fairer and more consistent in their decisions to take down content they find objectionable.
The department's proposal, for instance, would remove legal protections when platforms facilitate or solicit third-party content or activity that violates federal criminal law, such as online scams and trafficking in illicit drugs. The department also wouldn't confer immunity to platforms in instances involving online child exploitation and sexual abuse, terrorism or cyberstalking. Those carve-outs are needed to curtail immunity for internet companies to allow victims to seek redress, the official said.
Today's news further noted that "The Justice Department will also seek to make clear that tech platforms don't have immunity in civil enforcement actions brought by the federal government, and can't use immunity as a defense against antitrust claims that they removed content for anticompetitive reasons.
The sweeping protections now enjoyed by tech firms were established by Congress in the internet's early days, through a provision known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Under that law, tech platforms are generally not legally liable for actions of their users, except in relatively narrow circumstances. Internet platforms also are given broad ability to police their sites as they see fit under the current law.
Those protections would be scaled back in significant ways under the Justice Department's proposal which seeks, in essence, to prevent platforms from taking down content without offering reasonable rules and explanations -- and following them consistently. It also would make platforms more responsible for third-party content in other areas such as online commerce.
For instance, the department will propose to strike from federal law a provision that allows platforms to delete content that they merely deem to be 'objectionable.'
The proposal also would give some teeth to an existing 'good faith' standard that platforms are supposed to use in their content-moderation decisions. The aim would be to require platforms to adhere to their terms of service as well as their public claims about their practices. Platforms also would have to provide reasonable explanations of their decisions." For more, read the full Fox Business News report.
SIDE NOTE: A week ago an article was posted by Motherboard (tech by Vice) titled "Facebook Helped the FBI Hack a Child Predator." It's really an important story showing how Facebook went out of their way to hunt down one of their customers that was terrorizing female teens with threats of killing their parents and killing fellow students if they didn't provide this crazed predator with videos exposing their naked bodies.
While the story is extraordinary, it just goes to prove that encryption has an evil side that has to be broken. How many other predators are out there globally? How many human traffic rings are active in the U.S. and around the world where families are being destroyed daily knowing that their teen daughters have been sold to the highest bidder or a life of prostitution in a foreign country?
No matter how great Facebook's actions were to find and arrest this single madman, it's just one case in a sea of cases annually where child predators are getting away with their crimes due to encryption like Facebook's own WhatsApp. You could read the full article here.
While encryption has its definite place dealing with financial transaction and banking information, in protecting national security facilities and more, it has its drawbacks in protecting criminals and terrorists like the recent case in Florida to ridiculous levels.
Families therefore need to have the right to sue Social media and Silicon Valley tech companies that have put encryption and open-ended privacy above the safety of citizens globally for profit and marketing purposes.