Back in February, I wrote a two-part series entitled While you weren’t looking, tyrants in Washington attacked liberty.
In Part I of the series, I documented how Republicans were working on legislation that would give Trump and future presidents unlimited access to the private information of internet and telecommunications subscribers. In Part II, I documented how they were working on a plan that would give the federal government total control over social media and online platforms.
One area of focus in their obvious assault on our constitutionally protected, God-given rights, is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that, with few exceptions, protects internet companies from being legally responsible for content published on their sites by someone else.
Though clearly intended to protect free speech, Trump and the GOP believe Section 230 has failed to do so because “Fake News.” So, they are using the law against itself to open the way for more government control of the internet.
Trump unofficially began their tyrannical attack himself last year when he proposed issuing an executive order given the Orwellian politispeak title “Protecting Americans from Online Censorship.” The order called for the FCC to create new rules to determine when Section 230 should apply and when it shouldn’t.
In Part II of my series, we learned about a proposal made by Sen. Lindsey Graham that would make Trump’s proposal look modest in comparison.
Graham — who has a history of favoring government control of speech — introduced the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies (EARN IT) Act, a bill that gives the federal government complete authority to grant or deny Section 230 protection for social media platforms based on their “compliance” with rules established by the government under the bill.
Any doubts about Graham’s real intentions concerning the EARN IT Act were eliminated yesterday in hearings he held with attorneys representing the Internet Association, a tech trade group with companies with companies with Facebook and Google as members.
Saying that he doesn’t “buy anything” said by tech companies, Graham accused them of only caring about not getting sued, and he threatened the industry with legislation that would completely strip them of Section 230 protection if his bill fails to pass due to their opposition. And as we all know, nothing says “this is a good bill” like threatening anyone who opposes it with the hammer and cycle of big government.
Graham also assured those attending the hearing that his bill “is not a backdoor encryption bill” because such access to metadata would require “congressional approval.” According to Graham, such congressional approval will “ensure the approach is reasonable and considers the impact of data security and privacy.”
I guess since Graham is guaranteeing Congress will be reasonable and considerate about how they destroy liberty, we’ve got nothing to worry about. Right?
I shared this in my two-part series, but if you’d like a primer on Section 230 and the motivation behind Graham and others who want to see it destroyed in favor of more government control of the internet, check out the video below from Reason.com.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds members of every political stripe accountable and promotes conservative principles over political parties.