First report on the EU Hate Speech Code of Conduct shows need for transparency, judicial oversight, and appeals

While the European Commissioner for Justice Věra Jourová’s intentions on combating online hate speech are sincere, and the problem she seeks to address is real and important, the Commission’s strategy, its stated objectives, and its implementation are questionable on several levels. This blog post notes a series of concerns about the strategy and proposes some recommendations for addressing them.

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Takedown Collaboration by Private Companies Creates Troubling Precedent

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube announced their intent to begin collaborating on the removal of terrorist propaganda across their services. CDT is deeply concerned that this joint project will create a precedent for cross-site censorship and will become a target for governments and private actors seeking to suppress speech across the web.

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Senate Inquiry into Backpage’s Content Moderation Practices Would Set Dangerous Precedent for Free Speech Online

CDT has long urged website operators to be transparent, fair, and consistent in developing and implementing their content policies. Companies have an obligation to respect the human rights of their users, and transparency about their content moderation activities is an integral part of that. But when the government attempts to engage in intense scrutiny of a website’s lawful decisions to host constitutionally protected speech, it creates a backdoor to censorship that threatens user speech across the internet.

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An Unjust Repeat Infringer Case

The dispute between music publisher BMG and Cox Communications has proven to be a standout Digital Millennium Copyright Act case. What the case comes down to is whether internet access providers are required to have a “repeat infringer” policy that removes customers that have engaged in copyright infringement. The court should account for the current realities of internet access and the internet’s significance to economically and socially disadvantaged communities.

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Test Driving Privacy and Cybersecurity: Regulation of Smart Cars

Getting privacy, security, and safety policies right for smart cars is crucial and there should be more public cooperation among federal regulators. NHTSA has the subject-matter expertise, while the FTC and FCC have different technical and enforcement capabilities in the realm on privacy and data security. Drivers will benefit by having all three agencies working together and on the same page.

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Delay Implementation of Government Hacking Rule

One of the main policy alternatives to weakening encryption for law enforcement is some type of authority for the government to hack into an individual user’s computer. Unfortunately, that debate has not yet happened, but the government is still about to permit mass government hacking with the potential for a whole host of unintended consequences. A cart full of cyber-TNT has been put before the horse.

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