Democrats are taking steps to eliminate freedom of speech online with a new proposed bill ostensibly aimed at preventing Russian from influencing the 2018 mid-term elections.
The bill, which is filled with Orwellian content that would affect every single person in the United States, contains a host of proposals that would give the government control over what is said on online platforms throughout the country. The “Regulation of Social Media and Technology Firms” was drafted by Democratic Senator Mark Warner, and is eerily similar to the recent GDPR data protection program that EU recently adopted.
The proposals contained in this bill range from scary to downright unrealistic. The first one, which is mandatory location verification, would force social media platforms to disclose the geographical location of all users. It is coupled with mandatory identity verification, which would require social media websites and tech platforms to authenticate each user. If a company fails to comply with these regulations, it could be sanctioned by the Federal Trade Commission, which would have new powers to audit company algorithms and even share the data with “independent public interest researchers” who would be tasked with identifying “public health and/or addiction effects, anti-competitive behavior, radicalization, scams, users propagated misinformation and harassment.” These independent public interest researchers would then pass their findings on to Congress, where the information would be used to make laws governing internet usage.
Another scary proposal would make platforms legally liable for claims such as defamation, invasion of privacy, false light, etc. This proposal, which closely mimics the GDPR regulations in the EU, would allow individuals to sue a website for negative use of their private information. If an individual were to win such a lawsuit, the website in question would either need to take down the data in question or face massive fines and/or even asset confiscation.
The suggestion that companies would have to label their bots or face penalties clearly shows Sen. Warner and other backers don’t really understand how the internet works. Naturally, there is no word from the senator on how companies could carry out such a feat. Additionally, there is also no mention in the proposed bill of how the Federal Trade Commission would audit company algorithms and share the data it collects. The FTC currently does not have the infrastructure in place to carry out such a task. However, that has not stopped Sen. Warner from promoting the bill and even including language that would define popular tech companies as “essential facilities” that would be bound by additional restrictions and controls, including specific controls related to any online political speech.
While the bill is being promoted as an attempt to protect the American public from “Russian operatives” on social media websites, it is clear that those behind the bill are intent on stifling platforms that have been helping the conservative cause.
Sen. Warner is not the only Democrat who is eager to take out online websites that don’t agree with his point of view. Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy recently made news by calling for Infowars and other sites like it to be totally banned from the internet, stating that the survival of democracy depends on obliterating these websites.
Allowing the government to restrict what can be said online is a dangerous move. Republicans must be vigilant in defending free speech in every environment. This must now include speech online — because that’s where the left is attacking next.
~ Conservative Zone