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
I have a new article coming out, called Who Do You Sue? State and Platform Hybrid Power over Online Speech. It is about free expression rights on platforms like Facebook or Twitter, which the Supreme Court has called “the modern public square.” One section is about speakers suing platforms. It looks at cases – over thirty so far – where users argue that companies like Facebook or Twitter have violated their free expression rights by taking down legal speech that is prohibited under the platforms’ Community Guidelines.
Two important current trends in Internet law go together in ways that aren’t getting enough attention. They should, though, because the overlap is well on its way to messing up the Internet further.
Are Internet platforms distorting our political discourse by silencing conservatives? If they were, could Congress pass a law forcing them to play fair?
Public demands for internet platforms to intervene more aggressively in online content are steadily mounting. Calls for companies like YouTube and Facebook to fight problems ranging from “fake news” to virulent misogyny to online radicalization seem to make daily headlines. British prime minister Theresa May echoed the politically prevailing sentiment in Europe when she urged platforms to “go further and faster” in removing prohibited content, including through use of automated filters.
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?
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.
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.
"Daphne Keller at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society said internet companies doing business in countries with laws restricting speech know they will be expected to comply with the rules. One common means of doing so without deleting lawful speech elsewhere is to offer country-specific versions of services, like YouTube Thailand, said Keller.
"The company can then honor national law on the version of the service that is targeted to, and primarily used in, that country," she said."
"Daphne Keller, an Internet law expert at Stanford Law School and former attorney at Google, said prior court decisions favor Yelp and she would be surprised if the California Supreme Court didn't reverse the ruling.
"It should be a no-brainer for Yelp to win," she said."
"“The place we all go to exercise our freedom of expression and to share opinions is a private platform run by a private company, and they don’t let us say every single thing that’s legal,” says Daphne Keller, director of intermediary liability at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society and a former head lawyer for Google’s web search team. “They only let us say the things that their policies permit. There’s good business reasons for that for them, but it’s a strange impact for us as a society sharing speech.”"
"And its odds of winning are high, said Daphne Keller, director of intermediary liability at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society, who said many companies have successfully used the CDA as a defense."
"When platforms are made responsible for determining what speech is illegal, those intermediaries tend to over-remove content, out of an abundance of caution, Daphne Keller, the director of intermediary liability at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, and a former associate general counsel at Google, told BuzzFeed News. “They take down perfectly legal content out of concern that otherwise they themselves could get in trouble,” Keller said.
After a lengthy legislative process, the GDPR is finally ready. As the most significant overhaul of data privacy laws in Europe in twenty years, it will have a profound impact on Silicon Valley technology companies offering online services in Europe. The recently announced Privacy Shield will affect most US organisations that receive personal information from Europe.
Over 800 attendees registered at the State of the Net Conference (SOTN) in 2015. The conference provides unparalleled opportunities to network and engage on key Internet policy issues. SOTN is the largest Internet policy conference in the U.S. and the only one with over 50 percent Congressional staff and government policymakers in attendance.
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.