The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.
In the wake of recent reporting of Facebook’s alleged liberal curation of its trending newsfeed and Sen. John Thune’s subsequent letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg seeking answers about these allegations and demanding a meeting, constitutional scholars, press advocates, and civil libertarians have mobilized the First Amendment in the company’s defense. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) Sophia Cope argued that the letter constitutes “an improper intrusion into editorial freedom,” and Stanford Law lecturer Thomas Rubin wrote in Slate that “we should be concerned about this federal intrusion into an independent organization’s editorial process.”
Yesterday my Elon Law colleague Enrique Armijo, who writes about the application of the First Amendment to new technologies, filed a comment in the FCC's net neutrality proceeding. As CIS blog readers know, the FCC has shown interest in using its preemption authority to remove barriers to municipalities establishing their own broadband services to compete with private ISPs.
Though scholars have identified the expanding scope of First Amendment speech doctrine, little attention has been paid to the theoretical transformation happening inside the doctrine that has accompanied its outward creep. Taking up this overlooked perspective, this Article uncovers a new speech theory: the libertarian tradition. This new tradition both is generative of the doctrine’s expansion and risks undermining the First Amendment’s theoretical foundations.
The great 21st-century platforms — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and the rest — have this year found themselves in the middle of the speech wars. Twitter is struggling to contain vile trolling and harassment, and Facebook has gotten scalded on the little toe it dipped into curating journalism.
Revenge porn, also known as nonconsensual pornography or cyberexploitation, has been with us for a while, but only recently — with the hack of celebrities’ iCloud accounts — has it captured the public’s attention. What the exposure of Jennifer Lawrence’s and others’ photos made clear is that the powerful and the powerless are equally vulnerable to the exploitation of their nude photos. And the law is finally starting to protect these victims.
Most people believe that privacy and free speech are always at odds. People all over the world have struggled with how to reconcile the problems of media gossip with our commitment to free and open public debate for over a century. The rise of the Internet has made this problem more urgent. We live in an age of corporate and government surveillance of our lives. And our free speech culture has created an anything-goes environment on the web, where offensive and hurtful speech about others is rife.
Jon Hanson and Douglas Kysar coined the term “market manipulation” in 1999 to describe how companies exploit the cognitive limitations of consumers. Everything costs $9.99 because consumers see the price as closer to $9 than $10. Although widely cited by academics, the concept of market manipulation has had only a modest impact on consumer protection law.
"For Morgan Weiland, PhD candidate and junior associate researcher at the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford Law School, the discussion is very complicated and she does not see a solution in the short or medium term.
"The risk of closing pages or removing content from white supremacists is what happens tomorrow, someone can do the same with a page from the Black Lives Matter movement ," Weiland says in an interview with BBC World.
"Where you put the limit, how you avoid falling into censorship ... are very delicate issues,""
""The number of net intermediaries acting as gatekeepers has increased," since GoDaddy booted Daily Stormer, said Daphne Keller, who studies platforms' legal responsibilities at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. "Suddenly the domain registrars are sitting in judgment on content and speech," joining the usual players around free speech such as Google, Facebook and Twitter."
"Albert Gidari, Director of Privacy for the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, told us he agrees with the EFF’s argument:
Asking for metadata on everyone that visits a particular website implicates more than just the particularity required by the 4th Amendment. It implicates the 1st Amendment rights of anyone that visited the site.
""Legally, they don't have any responsibility around this, unless it's a federal crime [such as child pornography] or intellectual property," Daphne Keller, the director of intermediary liability at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, told CNN Tech."
"“Trolling is a terrible problem,” acknowledged Ryan Calo, an assistant law professor at the University of Washington who specializes in technology issues. “Are companies doing enough? I don’t think they are.”
He quickly added, however, that “we shouldn’t live in a world where if you don’t show utmost civility, you get erased from the Internet.”"
"“Twitter wants to be able to report the precise number so that users understand it’s not a continuing stream of hundreds of accounts being monitored,” said Albert Gidari, director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.
""It's to the credit of these companies that they have—without admitting it in court—taken the responsibility of the custodians of public debate," said Neil Richards, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis who specializes in the First Amendment. "We have to decide if that's a question we want to have left to a publicly traded corporation.""
""The Supreme Court appropriately understood the importance of the internet to the way politics and free expression occur right now," says Neil Richards, a professor at Washington University Law School, who specializes in First Amendment law. "We cannot have a functioning First Amendment that doesn't take First Amendment activity in a digital context into account.""
"And yet, according to Danielle Citron, author of the book Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, there are 21 crimes that have to do explicitly with speech—things like threats, extortion, aiding and abetting, and conspiracy. None of these types of speech are protected by the First Amendment. “If the First Amendment’s a house, where inside speech is protected, threats can’t walk in the door. Neither can extortion. Neither can solicitation of a crime,” Citron says. In other words, not all speech is covered by the First Amendment's proverbial roof."
From the First Amendment to Net Neutrality. How Media Regulation Affects What We Say
Does the FCC's recent ruling on net neutrality promise more equal media access? Or will it lead to years of divisive litigation? FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn will discuss implications of the new rules and the role of media regulation in creating a free press; Victor Pickard of the University of Pennsylvania will look at how media regulation choices in the 1940s affect us today; Stanford's Morgan Weiland will explain what the proposed federal shield law means for journalists.
The Federalist Society's 2013 National Lawyers Convention is scheduled for Thursday, November 14 through Saturday, November 16 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. The topic of this year's convention is: Textualism and the Role of Judges.
Daniel Nazer Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Jonathan Blavin Partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson
• First Amendment and public figures in sports games
• Cheating and hacking in online game play
MCLE Registration: 5:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Program 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
The Symposium, co-sponsored by Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, took place on Friday, February 10, 2012. Scholars and noted practitioners from across the country joined STLR to discuss current and emerging issues in First Amendment law and the Internet.
President Trump has blocked Twitter followers on his personal feed--raising questions, and a lawsuit, about first amendment rights on social media. An expert on free speech in the online world says the case has wide implications for public figures on all forms of social media.
Bloomberg Law Brief with June Grasso. Andrea Matwyshyn, a law professor at Northeastern University, and Nate Cardozo, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, discuss the ongoing dispute between Apple and the U.S. Government, which presses on as Apple continues to fight back against a court order requiring it to write software that would help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Now, Apple is planning to argue that the computer code in their devices is a unique creative work that should be protected by First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
From the First Amendment to net neutrality, How does media regulation affect what we say? The Sixth Annual Rebele Symposium addressed this topic with Mignon Clyburn, Victor Pickard, and Morgan Weiland. Ted Glasser and Christine Larson moderated the event.