Daphne Keller studies the ways that Internet content platforms – and the laws governing them -- shape information access and other rights of ordinary Internet users. As the Director of Intermediary Liability at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, she has written and spoken widely about the Right to Be Forgotten, copyright notice-and-takedown systems, cross-border content removal orders, platforms’ own discretionary content-removal decisions, and more. She has testified on these topics before legislatures, courts, and regulatory bodies around the world. In her previous role as Associate General Counsel at Google, Daphne worked on cases including Viacom, Perfect 10, Equustek, Mosley, and Metropolitan Schools; and was the primary counsel for products ranging from Web Search to the Chrome browser. Daphne has taught Internet law at Stanford, Berkeley, and Duke law schools. She is a graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, and mother to some awesome kids in San Francisco.
High Res Photo of Daphne Keller
Most people I talk to think that Facebook, Twitter, and other social media companies should take down ugly-but-legal user speech. Platforms are generally applauded for taking down racist posts from the White Nationalist demonstrators in Charlottesville, for example. I see plenty of disagreement about exactly what user-generated content should come down -- breastfeeding images? Passages from Lolita? Passages from Mein Kampf? But few really oppose the basic predicate of these removals: that private companies can and should be arbiters of permissible speech on their platforms.*
Alarm bells are sounding around the Internet about proposed changes to one of the US’s core Intermediary Liability laws, Communications Decency Act Section 230 (CDA 230). CDA 230 broadly immunizes Internet platforms against legal claims based on speech posted by their users. It has been credited as a key protection for both online expression and Internet innovation in the US. CDA 230 immunities have limits, though. Platforms are not protected from intellectual property claims (mostly handled under the DMCA) or federal criminal claims.
In its Equustek ruling in June, the Canadian Supreme Court held that Google must delete search results for users everywhere in the world, based on Canadian law. Google has now filed suit in the US, asking the court to confirm that the order can’t be enforced here. Here’s my take on that claim.
The Canadian Supreme Court this morning issued its long-awaited ruling in Equustek. The court upheld an order compelling Google to remove search results for specified websites, not just in Canada, but everywhere in the world.
On Tuesday, in a courtroom in Luxembourg, the Court of Justice of the European Union is to consider whether Google must enforce the “right to be forgotten” — which requires search engines to erase search results based on European law — everywhere in the world.
Policymakers increasingly ask Internet platforms like Facebook to “take responsibility” for material posted by their users. Mark Zuckerberg and other tech leaders seem willing to do so. That is in part a good development. Platforms are uniquely positioned to reduce harmful content online. But deputizing them to police users’ speech in the modern public square can also have serious unintended consequences. This piece reviews existing laws and current pressures to expand intermediaries’ liability for user-generated content.
If you paid attention to Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress last month, you might have gotten the impression that the internet consists entirely of titanic, California-based companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google. Congress is right to call these companies to account for outsize harms like disclosing personal data about many millions of users. But it is very wrong to act as though these companies are representative of the whole internet.
"“I think they are really struggling and that’s not surprising, because it’s a very hard problem,” said Daphne Keller, who used to be on Google’s legal team and is now with Stanford University.
"According to Daphne Keller, a director at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford’s school of law, outing those anonymous defendants might be the only way Miltenberg can get the case heard. It’s likely that Google – which was not named in the suit – and Donegan as the document’s creator will be immunized by federal statute and could get the case dismissed, Keller said.
"It will set governments’ expectations about how they can use their leverage over internet platforms to effectively enforce their own laws globally,” said Daphne Keller, who studies platforms’ legal responsibilities at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society and previously was Google’s associate general counsel."
"“Users are calling on online platforms to provide a moral code,” says Daphne Keller, director of the intermediary liability project at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society. “But we’ll never agree on what should come down. Whatever the rules, they’ll fail.” Humans and technical filters alike, according to Keller, will continue to make “grievous errors.”"
"We don’t have nearly enough information to see the big picture and know what speech platforms are taking down. For the most part, we only find out when the speakers themselves learn that their posts or accounts have disappeared and choose to call public attention to it. But the idea that platforms’ rules are biased — and that this undermines democracy — isn’t new, and it isn’t unique to conservatives.
Internet platforms like Facebook and Twitter play an ever-increasing role in our lives, and mediate our personal and public communications. What laws govern their choices about our speech? Come discuss the law of platforms and online free expression with CIS Intermediary Liability Director Daphne Keller.
Cybersecurity is increasingly a major concern of modern life, coloring everything from the way we vote to the way we drive to the way our health care records are stored. Yet online security is beset by threats from nation-states and terrorists and organized crime, and our favorite social media sites are drowning in conspiracy theories and disinformation. How do we reset the internet and reestablish control over our own information and digital society?
"Daphne Keller, a specialist in corporate liability and responsibility at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, says Facebook could face private lawsuits over privacy."
""Half the time it's, 'Oh no, Facebook didn't take something down, and we think that's terrible; they should have taken it down,' " says Daphne Keller, a law professor at Stanford University. "And the other half of the time is, 'Oh no! Facebook took something down and we wish they hadn't.' "
Full episode of "Bloomberg West." Guests include Daphne Keller, director of intermediary liability at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, David Kirkpatrick, Techonomy's chief executive officer, Radu Rusu, chief executive officer and co-founder of Fyusion, Crawford Del Prete, IDC's chief research officer, and Daniel Apai, assistant professor at The University of Arizona.