Daphne Keller is the Director of Intermediary Liability at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society. Her work focuses on platform regulation and Internet users' rights. She has published both academically and in popular press; testified and participated in legislative processes; and taught and lectured extensively. Her recent work focuses on legal protections for users’ free expression rights when state and private power intersect, particularly through platforms’ enforcement of Terms of Service or use of algorithmic ranking and recommendations. Until 2015 Daphne was Associate General Counsel for Google, where she had primary responsibility for the company’s search products. She worked on groundbreaking Intermediary Liability litigation and legislation around the world and counseled both overall product development and individual content takedown decisions.
High Res Photo of Daphne Keller
Europe's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into force today, after two years of preparation. Meanwhile, in the US, a remarkable number of people are suggesting we should adopt something like the GDPR. What does that actually mean, and what policy trade-offs does it entail?
Canada's Office of the Privacy Commissioner has concluded that an existing law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), gives individuals legal power to make individual websites take down information. This goes well beyond the rights recognized by the European Court of Justice in its “right to be forgotten” case, and raises the following important questions
Should Canada adopt its own version of the “right to be forgotten”? The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) recently concluded, in a Draft Position Paper, that such a right actually exists already. According to the OPC, Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) gives individuals legal power to make search engines like Google de-list search results about them, and to make individual websites take down information. In a Comment filed last week, I argued that this interpretation of PIPEDA will create far more problems than it solves.
Attached to this post are Powerpoint slides introducing intermediary liability basics. This particular deck comes from a great CIDE program in Mexico City. It is descended from others I’ve used over the years teaching at Stanford and Berkeley, presenting at conferences, and training junior lawyers at Google. Ancestral decks that evolved into this one go back to at least 2012. (Which might explain why I struggle with fonts whenever I update them.)
This piece is exerpted from the Law, Borders, and Speech Conference Proceedings Volume, where it appears as an appendix. The terminology it explains is relevant for Intermediary Liability and content regulation issues generally - not only issues that arise in the jurisdiction or conflict-of-law context. The full conference Proceedings Volume contains other relevant resources, and is Creative Commons licensed.
This essay closely examines the effect on free-expression rights when platforms such as Facebook or YouTube silence their users’ speech. The first part describes the often messy blend of government and private power behind many content removals, and discusses how the combination undermines users’ rights to challenge state action. The second part explores the legal minefield for users—or potentially, legislators—claiming a right to speak on major platforms.
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.
"“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.
"Any effort to regulate social media companies and search engines would run up against a bevy of constitutional free speech questions. Legally, Trump doesn’t have any authority to change how Google displays search results, said Daphne Keller, director of intermediary liability at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.
“By dictating what a private company does with search results, it legally would be like dictating what The Chronicle does with news reporting,” Keller said. “It would be a First Amendment violation.”"
"“There should be a whole gradation of how this [software] should work,” Daphne Keller, the director of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society (and mother of two), told Quartz. “We should be able to choose something in between, that is a good balance [between safety and surveillance], rather than forcing kids to divulge all their data without any control.”"
"Daphne Keller, of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, said Section 230 was designed to allow platforms like Facebook to do some moderation and make editorial decisions without generally being liable for users’ posts: “They need to be able to make discretionary choices about content.”
The law seemed to be on Facebook’s side, she said, but added that it was an unusual case given the focus on app data access while previous cases have centered on more straightforward censorship claims."
Lunch: 1:00 pm
Program: 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
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.
Privacy and free speech aren't fundamentally opposed, but they do have a tendency to come into conflict — and recent developments in Europe surrounding the right to be forgotten have brought this conflict into focus. This week, we're joined by Daphne Keller of Stanford's Center For Internet And Society to discuss the collision between these two important principles.