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
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.
In a concession to regulators, Google is . . . using “geo-blocking” technology to control what European users can see. Under the new system, Google will not only remove links on, say, google.fr, but it will block users in France from seeing those links on any other Google country site, or google.com itself. Unless they use tools like virtual private networks to disguise their locations, users in those countries will see pruned search results.
These comments were prepared and submitted in response to the U.S. Copyright Office's December 31, 2015 Notice and Request for Public Comment on the impact and effectiveness of the DMCA safe harbor provisions in Section 512 of Title 17.
Submission to the European Commission.
Includes Supplemental response to “Should action taken by hosting service providers remain effective over time ("take down and stay down" principle)?”
International Data Flows: Promoting Digital Trade in the 21st Century: Before the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, 114 Cong 133 (2015) (Letter from Daphne Keller, Director of Intermediary Liability, Center for Internet and Society, Stanford Law School)
"“When platforms don’t know what to do, the legally over-cautious response is to go way overboard on taking things down just in case they’re illegal,” Daphne Keller, Director of Intermediary Liability at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society, told BuzzFeed News. “My worst case scenario legislation would be some vague obligation for platforms to make sure that users don’t do bad things.”"
"“Historically, the place you went to exercise your speech rights was the public square. Now the equivalent is Twitter and YouTube and Facebook,” said Daphne Keller of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. “In a practical matter, how much you can speak is not in the hands of the constitution but in the hands of these private companies.”"
"“Many people suing for harassment have tried to find exemptions under the CDA,” said Daphne Keller, director of intermediary liability at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society, making the point that the platforms usually win."
"“This part of the Charlottesville story makes people think about who controls speech on the Internet,” says Daphne Keller of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. “We don’t have 1st Amendment rights to stop private companies from shutting down our speech, and most of the Internet is run by private companies. Most of us want some intermediaries to play that role — when we go on Twitter, we don’t want to be barraged with obscenities and on Facebook we don’t want to see racism.
"That doesn’t mean these companies aren’t feeling the pressure from advertisers and users who fear that pages belonging to alt-right publications like the Daily Stormer could incite violence, said Daphne Keller, Director of Intermediary Liability at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society.
The Center for Internet and Society (CIS) is a public interest technology law and policy program at Stanford Law School and a part of Law, Science and Technology Program at Stanford Law School.
When you give sites and services information about yourself, where does it go? Who else will get hold of it, and what will they use it for? The recent revelations about Cambridge Analytica's acquisition of data about tens of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge or consent have prompted renewed interest in how data about us gets shared, sold, used, and misused -- well beyond what we ever expected. Join us for a SLATA/CIS lunchtime conversation with three experts from Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society as we discuss the legal and policy implications of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and responses from Congress and courts. How can we prevent this from happening again? What new problems might we create through poorly-crafted legal responses?
Vinton G. Cerf is one of the founding fathers of the internet, and on Wednesday, February 28th, he will be on Canada 2020’s stage for an exclusive event.
Tickets are free and open to the public, but available in limited quantities. Click below to secure yours.
Known most for being the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the modern Internet, Vint will join us in Ottawa to talk about online citizenship, the right to be forgotten, and state of the modern internet.
Twenty years ago, the US Supreme Court’s decision in Reno v. ACLU established the framework for internet free speech and liability that remains in place today. This conference will consider the continuing viability of the Reno vision in the face of multiplying concerns about sex trafficking online, terrorist content, election interference, and other forms of contested content.
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.