House Republicans Have A Big Tech Plan... That Is Both Unconstitutional And Ridiculous

from the oh-come-on dept

Republicans have spent decades holding themselves out as the party of "small government" and "keeping government out of business," while also claiming to be strict supporters of an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. The reality, of course, is something altogether different. Even as Republican politicians often pay lips service to these claims, their policy ideas show the opposite. The top Republican on the House Energy & Commerce Committee has announced the GOP's "Big Tech Accountability Platform" that has an astounding level of government interference not just into business, but into the 1st Amendment rights of all Americans.

The full plan is somewhat astounding (I don't know why it's showing sideways, but I guess download it and rotate it). It opens by paying lip service to the idea of the 1st Amendment, and the value of "more speech" over suppressing speech. But then immediately seeks to undermine the 1st Amendment by suggesting that internet companies should be compelled to host speech they disagree with. It falsely suggests that the decision to suspend President Trump's account was an attack on his conservative views, and not his efforts to incite his supporters into overturning the election. It includes a section on giving law enforcement more access to content and forcing tech companies to become an arm of law enforcement. It (of course!) has a section on protecting "our children."

The whole thing is a censor's dream.

Of course, the GOP has no real power in Congress, especially in the House right now, but that could change quite a bit over the next few years, so we should take these proposals seriously. The key parts of the plan are here:

We could go through piece by piece and explain how these issues are misleading, wrong, silly, or pointless, but I'm sure we'll have plenty of chances to address each point as they start showing up in various bills.

What is clear, however, is that most of this policy is not about any principled stands the GOP may have. Most of it is about spite.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: 1st amendment, cathy mcmorris rodgers, censorship, content moderation, for the children, gop, responsibility, section 230, transparency

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread

  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    Koby (profile), 26 Jan 2021 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Very Simple

    But fortunately, the Supreme Court found no 1st Amendment protection from liability in Stratton Oakmont v. Prodigy decision. Section 230 can be reformed to provide limits to liability immunity unless corporations agree to moderate content on an objective basis, instead of a political editorial one.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.