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.

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


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 26 Jan 2021 @ 11:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: blocked account of trump while he was still the

    "Trump however most certainly was(I love being able to write that past tense), and as such he was limited in how he could handle his account because he'd been using it for official government business/communications, essentially turning it into a government run account."

    This is always worth repeating to the wilfully ignorant. This decision was made necessary purely because Trump refused to use the official account that had been provided to him for official government work, and insisted on using his personal account. Sometimes to the degree that actions he took as president were only communicated there, and even his own staffers didn't know about them until the announcement was made there. It had to be treated as a government account, because he was doing government work there, instead of on the government property he was given for that purpose.

    I know it's going to be difficult to relay basic facts from just a couple of years ago to these people, but it's worth repeating that the actions taken were only taken because Trump was so worthless at the most basic elements of his job in the first place.


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