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
This is the second of four posts on real-world consequences of the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) rulings in Delfi v. Estonia and MTE v. Hungary. Both cases arose from national court rulings that effectively required online news portals to monitor users’ speech in comment forums. The first case, Delfi, condoned a monitoring requirement in a case involving threats and hate speech.
Last summer, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) delivered a serious setback to free expression on the Internet. The Court held, in Delfi v. Estonia, that a government could compel a news site to monitor its users’ online comments about articles.* This winter, the Court’s lower chamber ruled the other way in MTE v.
The probably-really-almost-totally final 2016 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is here! Lawyers around the world have been hunkered down, analyzing its 200-plus pages. In the “Right to Be Forgotten” (RTBF) provisions, not much has changed from prior drafts.
Europe’s pending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) threatens free expression and access to information on the Internet. The threat comes from erasure requirements that work in ways the drafters may not have intended -- and that are not necessary to achieve the Regulation’s data protection purposes.
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.
"In a recent paper, Daphne Keller, director of Intermediary Liability at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, points out that whether and how content hosts—such as social media companies—must honor RTBF requests under the GDPR is unclear.
"Policy experts also question how the bill would actually work. Daphne Keller of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society pointed to the challenges of determining whether an ad buyer is a foreign entity, particularly if buyers rely on outside vendors to purchase ads.
“Nobody knows how to figure out who counts as Russian,” she said. “It seems extremely easy to hide your identity.”"
"Daphne Keller of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society says that the new law could push some platforms and publishers to crack down on a wide variety of speech, to avoid the threat of lawsuits. It would give them “a reason to err on the side of removing internet users’ speech in response to any controversy,” she says, “and in response to false or mistaken allegations, which are often levied against online speech.”"
"“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.”"
Stanford CIS brings together scholars, academics, legislators, students, programmers, security researchers, and scientists to study the interaction of new technologies and the law and to examine how the synergy between the two can either promote or harm public goods like free speech, innovation, privacy, public commons, diversity, and scientific inquiry. Come hear CIS Directors Jennifer Granick + Daphne Keller and Resident Fellows Riana Pfefferkorn + Luiz Fernando Marrey Moncau talk about our work, and the assistance CIS provides to students in learning about these issues, selecting courses, identifying job opportunities, and making professional connections.
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.
On this segment of “Quality Assurance,” I take a deep dive on platforms and regulating speech. I spoke with Daphne Keller, who is at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.
The question of what responsibility should lie with Internet platforms for the content they host that is posted by their users has been the subject of debate around in the world as politicians, regulators, and the broader public seek to navigate policy choices to combat harmful speech that have implications for freedom of expression, online harms, competition, and innovation.
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."