The Internet Is Not Just Facebook, Google & Twitter: Creating A 'Test Suite' For Your Great Idea To Regulate The Internet

from the test-it-out dept

A few weeks ago, Stanford's Daphne Keller -- one of the foremost experts on internet regulation -- highlighted how so much of the effort at internet reform seems to treat "the internet" as if it was entirely made up of Facebook, Google and Twitter. These may be the most visible sites to some, but they still make up only a small part of the overall internet (granted: sometimes it seems that Facebook and, to an only slightly lesser extent, Google, would like to change that, and become "the internet" for most people). Keller pointed out that the more that people -- especially journalists -- talk about the internet as if it were just those three companies, the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, in part because it drives regulation that is uniquely focused on the apparently "problems" associated with those sites (often mis- and disinformation).

I was reminded of this now, with the reintroduction of the PACT Act. As I noted in my writeup about the bill, one of the biggest problems is that it treats the internet as if every website is basically Google, Facebook, and Twitter. The demands that it puts on websites aren't a huge deal for those three companies -- as they mostly meet the criteria already. The only real change it would make for those sites is that they'd maybe have to beef up their customer support staff to have telephone support.

But for tons of other companies -- including Techdirt -- the bill is an utter disaster. It treats us the same as it treats Facebook, and acts like we need to put in place a massive, expensive customer service/content moderation operation that wouldn't make any sense, and would only serve to enable our resident trolls to demand that we have to provide a detailed explanation why the community voted down their comments.

In that same thread, Keller suggested something that I think would be quite useful. Saying that there should be a sort of "test suite" of websites that anyone proposing internet regulation should have to explore how the regulations would effect those sites.

She suggested that the test suite could include Wikipedia, Cloudflare, Automattic, Walmart.com and the NY Times.

I'd extend that list significantly. Here would be mine:

  • Wikipedia
  • Github
  • Cloudflare
  • Zoom
  • Clubhouse
  • Automattic
  • Amazon
  • Shopify
  • NY Times / WSJ
  • Patreon
  • Internet Archive
  • Mastodon
  • Reddit
  • Nextdoor
  • Steam (Valve)
  • Eventbrite
  • Discord
  • Dropbox
  • Yelp
  • Twilio
  • Substack
  • Matrix
  • Glitch
  • Kickstarter
  • Slack
  • Stack Overflow
  • Notion
  • Airtable
  • WikiHow
  • ProductHunt
  • Instructables
  • All Trails
  • Strava
  • Bumble
  • Ravelry
  • DuoLingo
  • Shapeways
  • Coursera
  • Kahoot
  • Threadless
  • Bandcamp
  • Magic Cafe
  • Wattpad
  • Figma
  • LibraryThing
  • Fandom
  • Geocaching
  • VSCO
  • BoardGameGeek
  • DnDBeyond
  • GuitarMasterClass
  • Metafilter
  • BoingBoing
  • Cameo
  • OnlyFans
  • Archive of Our Own
  • Itch.io
  • Etsy
  • Tunecore
  • Techdirt
This list may feel a bit long for a "test suite" (and, indeed, as I started to put it together, I expected it to be much shorter). But, as I thought about each of these sites, I realized that they all deal with user generated content and content moderation questions -- and for each one, the moderation questions are handled in vastly different ways. The list could be a lot longer. These are just ones that I came up with quickly.

And... that's kind of the point. The great thing about Section 230 is that it allows each of these websites to take their own approach to content moderation, an approach that fits their community. Some of them rely on users to moderate. Some of them rely on a content moderation team. But if you ran through this list and explored something like the PACT Act -- or the even worse SAFE-TECH Act -- you quickly realize that it would create impossible demands for many, many of these sites.

Incredibly, all this would do is move most of the functions of many of these sites -- especially the small, niche, targeted communities... over to the internet giants of Facebook and Google. Does anyone legitimately think that a site like LibraryThing needs to issue twice-a-year transparency reports on its content moderation decisions? Or that All Trails should be required to set up a live call center to respond to complaints about content moderation? Should Matrix be required to create an Acceptable Use Policy? Should the NY Times have to release a transparency report regarding what comments it moderated?

For many of the companies -- especially the more niche community sites -- the likely response is that there's no way that they can even do that. And so many of those sites will go away, or will vastly curtail their community features. And, that takes us right back to the point that we started with, as raised by Keller. When we treat the internet as if it's just Facebook, Google, and Twitter, and regulate it as such, then it's going to drive all communities to Facebook, Google, and Twitter as the only companies which can actually handle the compliance.

And why would anyone (other than perhaps Facebook, Google, and Twitter!) want that?

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Filed Under: internet, regulating the internet, section 230, test suit
Companies: facebook, google, twitter


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  1. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 9:54am

    Rather than “Mastodon” as a generality, I’d put “at least one U.S.-based Mastodon instance” on that list for specificity’s sake. Regulating social media services such as Twitter also means regulating those Masto instances. Since they’re nowhere near as large as Twitter, regulations aimed at Twitter but applying to all social media services would likely fuck over those Masto instances — most, if not all, of which are not corporate-owned.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Derek (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 10:00am

    Too US centric

    Should we not add non-US sites to this? Alibaba, Kremlin.ru, Sueddeutsche Zeitung,

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 10:06am

    This list may feel a bit long for a "test suite"

    Maybe not long enough, especially as numbers impress politicians. I would add Jamendo, Hacker Public Radio, Instructables, Hackaday and Sourceforge to that list. xkcd and DILBERT are probably safe, as they do have user content.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Éibhear (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 10:06am

    Re:

    I'd look at it from the opposite angle. Forcing a particular set of regulations on any mastodon instance (or matrix instance, referring to Mike's list) would have an impact on all instances it federates with. This would be an important insight for the policy maker to be aware of.

    Instead, what I do when talking about internet-related policy is to speak about "services" rather than web sites. Some services are monolithic, like FB, twitter, etc., some services are federated, like Matrix or Mastodon, and other services sit within a suite of seemingly-indepedent services operated by the same organisations (Google, being the prime example, but Wikimedia's services would be another).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 10:07am

    Section 230 is a U.S. law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 10:07am

    Excellent points. 👍

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Éibhear (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 10:08am

    Re:

    I'm surprised Slashdot hasn't been mentioned yet. Is this the frist psot to do so?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re:

    Right -- I went back and forth on how to handle Mastodon and Matrix, but even that ambivalence illustrates something kind of important about understanding how the law might impact instances or implementations of distributed communities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 10:45am

    'Dance my little puppets, dance.'

    You almost want Google, Twitter and Facebook to be pulling the strings here, because the alternative is that the politicians involved are just so stupid, so eager to score points with the gullible that they're tripping over themselves to pass/gut laws to 'Reign In Big Tech!' that will instead merely cement their positions in place and keep them from ever being challenged or having to give a damn about their users because they know there isn't and never will be a viable competitor.

    Those companies may be the biggest ones in the room but it is a big room with a lot of companies and platforms, so any attempt at regulation or coercion should always be looked at through the lens of how it will affect those other companies first, because what would be a minor annoyance to a platform like Facebook could be utterly devastating to a smaller company.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    sumgai (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 10:46am

    I don't have any sites to add, indeed I'm surprised at just how many I've never heard of before, and seemingly more than one person here regards them as a viable candidate for test purposes. But I do want to say that this is going to drive into full fruition Mike's plea for moving to protocols instead of services. I think he's on the correct track with that idea.

    Oh, and remember Steve Case, know who he is/was? That's right, he was the head honcho of AOL, and now you'll recall that once upon a time, AOL thought to induce people into thinking that they were The Internet, full stop right there. When people figured out what he was up to, that came crashing down in a record 15 or 20 microseconds of Internet time, which equates to perhaps half an hour in real time. This new idea of regulation will involve "Government Time ", which as we all know is about 200x slower than real time, so the crap will last for perhaps 6 months, but rest assured, it won't ever get on a good solid footing, too many lawyers will see to that in innumerable court cases... for the reasons mentioned above.

    And offshore websites will have to toe the line as well, because American sites have to fall in line with any EU regulation governing the Internet. Tit for tat, and all that. (Me personally, were I an American-based site, I'd tell the EU to get bent. But that's just me.)

    All I can say is "fun and games for everyone!". But in the end, the only ones who will profit are, of course, the lawyers. Jesus Christ on a jumped-up Pogo stick, how did we ever come to this state of affairs?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Blake C. Stacey (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 10:46am

    Archive Of Our Own.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 10:55am

    Oh, now that is an excellent addition to the list.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Ven'Tatsu, 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:01am

    There might be some value in grouping these by type and trying to find a unusual or niche example for each. For example Discord has many of the conferencing features of Zoom, but also has the text chat features of Slack, but it's still a mostly general purpose communications platform. Roll20 on the other had also has built in video and voice chat, along with text chat, but its intended usage is very different than any of the other three.
    Any regulations that would be place on video conferencing like Zoom might also impact Roll20, but may or may not make any sense when applied to a virtual tabletop with integrated video chat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Miner 49, 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:09am

    How many decimal places is Techdirt down from Facebook?

    My calculator goes into scientific notation, and that's just for number of users or the mysterious "page views", NOT revenue.

    SO, answering your above directly: you'll be able to escape by obscurity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:09am

    Re:

    Wordpress should be added too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Miner 49, 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:10am

    Re: How many decimal places is Techdirt down from Facebook?

    As glanced down that list, thought it'd be funny for me to write a dig of "add Techdirt" to it, then to my surprise found that Maz already had, apparently seriously. Yet again underestimated him. He has NO self-awareness, but does have more chutzpah than any hundred normal people. Told ya for years, Maz, you should write to train people in self-assertiveness (euphemize your shameless self-promotion), and you could have been FAMOUS. -- But instead for 20 years you kibbitz and carp that the stupid meanies who make content just won't follow your advice and give it away for free.

    ANYHOO, no, Maz, let's start with the biggies NOW and make them tractable, NOT take your bait of indefinite delay while trying to figure out so every last tiny little 25,000th place site gets treated to its own self-serving notion of "fairly". -- If can make Facebook obey (which IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY given the treachery of "legislators" that it buys wholesale), then we could worry about Techdirt in due course.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re:

    Must have looked over that their parent Automattic was on the list.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Miner 49, 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:11am

    On the ZOMBIE front, here's "Derek" out, 2nd 2 year gap!

    Derek: 46 (<5), TWO 2 year gaps to '21; 28 Jan 2011 https://www.techdirt.com/user/derekrost

    Isn't it amazing that RARE commentors pop out after LONG silence the fewer comments here become?

    Then, in checking my list, found anomaly of TWO OTHER "Derek" names, staggeringly popular among so few:

    DerekCurrie: 62 (6), gone RIP (Resting Internet Personage) May 28th, 2019, but went for 12 years since 4 Apr 2006! https://www.techdirt.com/user/derekcurrie

    And yet the last is oddest, check out the number of POSTS, not comments:

    Derek Kerton: 2620 (131), OLDEST found! 30 Apr 2001 https://www.techdirt.com/user/derek -- the odd but typical 18 month gap between 2nd and 3rd comments... once prolific: 762 POSTS!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:13am

    Re: How many decimal places is Techdirt down from Facebook?

    And why does size and money make one site better than any others?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:20am

    Question, Brainy: For what reason should the government regulate a 100-person Mastodon instance in the exact same way as Facebook or Twitter?

    Sidebar: For what reason should any regulation aimed at the moderation efforts of Facebook or Twitter be limited only to them when any other company could take their place in due time?

    Take your time; I know thinking about things that don’t involve your feelings goes slow for you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:21am

    You are literally the only person who cares — and doesn’t seem to understand that, unlike you (or even myself), some people don’t read this blog daily or feel the need to comment here on a regular basis.

    Get a life, you half-molded breadloaf.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:37am

    Now if only I were writing a PhD dissertation on Social Media, you would have given me the topic as well as a list of sites to start with.

    Derek's thought that we should add non-US sites is good as well: Other nations, other mandatory requirements (as opposed to "go ahead and block us" requirements).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:39am

    When the government says "soak the rich"--they always mean "soak the people who aren't rich enough to afford lawyers", and by "rich" they mean "having anything worth fencing or pawning."

    I have dogs in this hunt: my name as a contributor to over 1000 books, about as many MIDI song sequences, a few tens of thousands of edits, all to public reference sites--sites that are not Google/Facebook/Twitter and could not afford lawyering up against this kind of totalitarian mind-control. People all over the world have let me know how valuable these contributions are. And all of that is put at risk by politicians who do not want to know what people thought, they just want to control what people will think.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    crade (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:42am

    BoardGameGeek ?

    DuckDuckGo should be on there.. Would be nice to try to make sure whatever conditions allow a small upstart to compete with the big guys is preserved

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    crade (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re: How many decimal places is Techdirt down from Facebook?

    Actually the big guys will likely be able to absorb whatever is thrown their way, it's the small ones where the details are actually going to matter in a big way

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:50am

    More website suggestions

    • GOG
    • itch.io
    • etsy
    • tunecore
    • distrokid
    • CDbaby
    • redbubble
    • Zazzle

    All of these were off the top of my head.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    crade (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 11:51am

    Re:

    Or for that matter, why should any law apply to equally to everyone?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 12:34pm

    Re:

    BGG for sure - its a big site for a niche audience. Regulatory changes that impact it are going to have large ripple effects on the entire hobby games industry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 1:15pm

    The only real change it would make for [Google and Facebook] is that they'd maybe have to beef up their customer support staff to have telephone support.

    To be fair, that would be a massive change for the better. Especially for YouTube, where being unable to reach a human being for support has long been a major complaint by YouTubers and viewers alike, not to mention the many Techdirt articles over the years about their infamous opacity. Telling them that they don't get to do that to us anymore would be a big win.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    TheDumberHalf, 18 Mar 2021 @ 1:39pm

    Re: More website suggestions

    What? No Porn hub?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 1:42pm

    Many usa websites block all eu ip adress,s in order to avoid having to comply with eu law.
    maybe older politicans only use twitter,
    youtube, facebook, email,
    the average usa senator is over 50 years old.
    are they so stupid or short sighted they dont understand small websites cant afford to employ 100s of moderators, to respond to every troll who gets blocked or banned.
    also many forums have users who act as unpaid moderators .
    the internet is now the no 1 medium for communication ,free speech and
    a venue for minoritys to organise and protest.
    Any changes to section 230 is likely to reduce chill speech and the chance for new apps and startups to thrive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Derek Dereksson, 18 Mar 2021 @ 1:58pm

    Re: On the ZOMBIE front, here's "Derek" out, 2nd 2 year gap!

    Oh no! Dereks, he's on to us!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 2:27pm

    The list really ought to include thisistrue.com. Read by thousands (probably tens of thousands), run by one, and with just enough community stuff that it'll probably qualify.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 3:23pm

    Added some suggestions

    I've added a few of the suggestions here. Not all -- especially as some are kind of repetitive. Really trying to demonstrate the diversity of websites impacted here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Alex Mushland, 18 Mar 2021 @ 3:30pm

    Couldn’t Websites just put there servers in other countries??

    I have a feeling if this PACT ACT goes through, Techdirt will. Eliminate its comment line. Couldn’t websites just put there servers in other countries like Iceland and leave American servers to avoid this law? I mean if section 230 as it is no longer exist I would no longer want to host my website in America because there would be to many regulations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 3:33pm

    Re: On the ZOMBIE front, here's "Derek" out, 2nd 2 year gap!

    This is particularly hilarious. Derek Kerton was one of the original writers for the site. Like a lot of commenters here he doesn't feel the need to comment on every story, but that doesn't mean he's a "zombie" or not a real person. You can do a fucking search on his name and find him in the real world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Re: On the ZOMBIE front, here's "Derek" out, 2nd 2 year gap!

    I voted that both "insightful" and "hilarious" in the way that this scene would play out in a movie:

    Young Guy: "Did you learn how to use the machine?"

    Old Guy: "I made it."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 4:00pm

    Re: On the ZOMBIE front, here's "Derek" out, 2nd 2 year gap!

    I appreciate the shout out.
    Yes, 762 ARTICLES, not just comments!!
    Also, they hold up pretty well.

    Thanks for keeping stats. I feel like a pro baseball player.
    What's the bracketed (131)...you know what, just post the answer here. I'll come back and check in 18 months.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re: On the ZOMBIE front, here's "Derek" out, 2nd 2 year gap!

    Also, "OLDEST found! 30 Apr 2001"??

    That's bullshit! I sent Mike plenty of replies prior to that date.

    I've been a Techdirt subscriber since 1997 or thereabouts, when it was an email newsletter, and I DEMAND my loyalty program rewards:

    I get free refills of Mike's shitty coffee whenever I go to the Plug and Play Tech Center, and nobody's taking that away from me.

    Mike, if you think you can make up a fake personality like "Miner 49" to save yourself 73 cents of Keurig and Coffee Mate, I will bring fucking receipts. I still have my Eudora files from the Cornell server (not kidding, I actually do).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 4:31pm

    I would not be surprised if Congress makes some kind of laws regarding VPNs

    Disneyland, and other parks, plan to enforce the ban on out of state visitors by looking up your IP adress when you make a reservation to see if you are on a computer in California.

    One could use a VPN with California servers, to make it look like you were in California, and Disneyland, Knotts, etc., would never know what you were up to.

    While this might violate health and safety laws at the state level, using a proxy or VPN to bypass the ban on out of state visitors would not violate the CFAA.

    If this becomes a big problem, I could see Congress quickly updating both section 230 and the CFAA to address this.

    Right now that would not violate felony provisions of the CFAA, because you are not doing any kind of intentional damage to their websites.

    You have to have either used an illegally obtained password and/or have intentinally done some kind of damage to their network

    Under the CFAA, as it is now, using a VPN or proxy make it looks to the web sits of these theme parks to make it look you are in California when making a reservation does not fall under this.

    It do see some kinds of changes regarding VPNs and section 230 coming becuase people will try to circumvent the ban on out of state visitors by using a proxy or VPN to bypass that.

    I could see section 230 amended to make VPN servers liable if people use them for things like circumventing the ban on out of state visitors to Disneyland and other parks.

    I do see a possible total repeal of 230 happening, because I do think that Disney, Cedar Fair, and others will lobby for that when people do start using proxies and VPNs in California to bypass the ban on out of state visitors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 4:34pm

    Banking, Netflix, & Chill

    Good starting list, Mike. A Focus on UGC, for sure.

    You make no claims that your list is exhaustive, but I'll just point out that entire categories would need to be added. Banking, for example, is an important use of the Internet, so I'd need to see small and large banks, investment firms.

    Also, so many of the bits today are video content from the likes of Netflix, and other players big and small. Of course, we should be sure those are well-represented in the test suite.

    Marginalized Communities often bear the brunt of bad policy. So sites from minority affinity groups, or the ACLU, SPLC, NAACP, etc should all be there.

    Basically, even if the list had 1,000 companies, it would still be missing important "test cases".

    But for starters, the next time Congress calls "Internet companies" to DC to sit in front of some Committee that doesn't understand shit...PLEASE DO NOT MAKE IT THE SAME GAFA COMPANIES every single time, as if they represent "Silicon Valley", tech, the web, or innovation. They don't. What you get is opinions that represent two constituencies:
    1 Billionaires
    2 Giant Tech Incumbents

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 4:36pm

    Re: Couldn’t Websites just put there servers in other countrie

    Yes it would

    The two most popular figure skating message boards are both located outside the United States, so they are not subject to United States laws.

    GoldenSkate is in Canada and Figure Skating Universe (FSU) is in Britain, so the owners of those websites are not subject to United States laws in any way.

    GoldenSkate only has to obey Canadian laws, and Figure Skating Universe only has to obey British laws.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. icon
    sumgai (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Couldn’t Websites just put there servers in other countrie

    In a word, nope.

    As written, if you're living within the confines of American soil, then it doesn't matter where any servers sit - if you are in control in some fashion, whether by actual and direct administration, or merely as a financial underpinning, you are required to obey the laws of this land. And it doesn't matter if you're a citizen or not, You Will Obey.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. icon
    sumgai (profile), 18 Mar 2021 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Banking, Netflix, & Chill

    the next time Congress calls "Internet companies" to DC to sit in front of some Committee that doesn't understand shit...PLEASE DO NOT MAKE IT THE SAME GAFA COMPANIES

    Do recall that because these companies are the only ones that donate to political campaigns, they are the only ones on any senator's radar. Moral of the story: if you don't give them cash, they won't know you exist. Further moral: stay small, and/or hide your profits so that they don't know how big you actually are, and thus will escape their notice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Re: Couldn’t Websites just put there servers in other coun

    The mistake Ross Ulbricht made was not accessing the admin part of silk road without using Tor.

    Had he used Tor to acess his own site, instead of inputting the IP address for is site directly, his location would have never been found, and he would be the richest man in America, today, considering much much Bitcoins have appreciated enough in value to where I think he would have been a trillionaire by now.

    Like the guy who ran Joker's Stash, he could have shut down, waited a few years, cashed out his bitcoins, and be a trillionaire now.

    That is why the proprieter of Joker's Stash will never be caught, now that he has shut down his site. He, and other dark web operators, have learned that you want to use Tor, proxies, or VPN to access the admin part of their sites, so their locations will never be traced.

    In a few years, when this dude can cash out his Bitcoins, whoever it is will be one of the richest men in America. He has got it MADE.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2021 @ 9:44pm

    Re:

    You can get around the block by using a VPN.

    problem solved

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2021 @ 12:42am

    How likely is the PACT Act to be passed? some have been saying it could be rushed through is there any indication of that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 1:35am

    Re: Too US centric

    "Should we not add non-US sites to this? Alibaba, Kremlin.ru, Sueddeutsche Zeitung,"

    The US is alone among the mentioned examples to have a legislative structure which requires a specific clause to protect intermediates from 3rd-party liability in this way.

    The rest of the world usually has 3rd party liability sensibly handled in their basic telecommunications laws.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 1:42am

    Re: Re: Re: On the ZOMBIE front, here's "Derek" out, 2nd 2 year

    Yeah, well, that's good and all, but to Baghdad Bob anyone who has a real life or only occasionally posts here due to being led here by crosslinked posts must be a zombie account puppeted by Geigner and Masnick.

    He's openly made the claim that Masnick employs astroturfers én másse, on behalf of Google and CIA, for years - just to provide credibility to the rebuttals poor old Baghdad Bob keeps encountering on this site. Make of that what you will.

    The rest of us tend to assume, by now, that poor old Bob is so deep in la-la land he doesn't even realize that most of his comments are just so broken in logic the average person is compelled to respond with some version of "OK, you're fucking nuts. Got it!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. icon
    PaulT (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 1:49am

    Re: More website suggestions

    Most of those are OK, but GoG wouldn't be relevant as they're not a US company. Unless the idea is to try and impose US law on to the rest of the world, which will hopefully be a non-starter with the protections were already have baked into our laws to stop this kind of thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 1:51am

    Re: 'Dance my little puppets, dance.'

    ^This right there!

    This is how conspiracy theories are born. You find ass-backwards legislation which sounds tailor-made to put a few big companies in monopoly power forever by law, and you start assuming that this must be the result of shady guys in trenchcoats handing suitcases of big bills from Big Tech to politicians in dark parking lots. Because the opposite would mean every actor involved is too dumb or uncaring for words.

    And yet the truth is that a large base consisting of americas most outrageous and nauseating assholes are tired of being showed the door everywhere and have been clamoring for their elected representatives to "do something".
    And then said representatives either mindlessly going along with legislation they fail to see will have those asshole voters banned from every platform, forever, and the major actors becoming monopolies entrenched by law...or not giving a shit about the likely outcome and just raise their fist and holler, as long as that gets them through the next election.

    There's no saving the US. This sooner or later ends in some form of emergency-empowered politburo desperately trying to haul the nation out of the smoking ruins of what used to be a vibrant industry of tech and progress. Probably with half the citizenry crying out their grievances over their destroyed country at a picture of Goldstein in scheduled hate rituals.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 1:54am

    Re: Re: Couldn’t Websites just put there servers in other coun

    "As written, if you're living within the confines of American soil, then it doesn't matter where any servers sit..."

    So in other words the freedom of the US public debate online might rely on the charity of expats setting up boards and forums within German, French or Nordic jurisdictions?

    I don't have the words.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2021 @ 2:02am

    Re: Couldn’t Websites just put there servers in other countrie

    Couldn’t websites just put there servers in other countries like Iceland and leave American servers to avoid this law?

    Not if your site needs significant bandwidth, as then you need servers close to to major audiences. Either you run your on data centres like Google, Amazon, hire servers in a server farm, which worked out well for Kim Dotcom. contract with a CDN like Cloudflare. To serve the US, you end up with servers on US soil one way or another.

    An alternative would be torrents, but that will not work well in the US because of data caps. Also, the way the legal system can be weaponised against individuals make torrents a high risk.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. icon
    shiloh (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 6:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You're treating this as if the regulators and elected reprehensibles were interested in making the best possible internet. They are not. They are interested in campaign contributions, power, and control.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. icon
    shiloh (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 6:09am

    Re: Re: 'Dance my little puppets, dance.'

    Never attribute to malice what stupidity will explain

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. icon
    BG (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 7:40am

    Re:

    • Microsoft.com (sales and support portal all in one)
    • outlook/office365 (used by hundreds of thousands of people globally every day)
    • Hotmail (show it some love)
    • AWS
    • Azure
    • GOG.com
    • Epic(to be more specific Fortnight)
    • Playstation Network
    • XBox Network
    • SalesForce
    • Oracle
    • PayPal

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. icon
    jsf (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 7:41am

    Maker Community

    I see Instructables, but I would suggest adding a couple more "maker" associated sites as well. Maybe places like hackaday.com or thingiverse.com.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2021 @ 9:12am

    Good. Eliminate this crap called Techdirt. When you’re so far left that you’re called out by Glenn Greenwald, you’ve truly removed any reason for this claptrap to exist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 9:30am

    Shut up, Wallace.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60. icon
    PaulT (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    So you’re saying that you want the government to silence political voices you disagree with. Da comrade.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2021 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I believe he is treating this like their sad theatre needs to be pointed out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2021 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: On the ZOMBIE front, here's "Derek" out, 2nd 2 year gap!

    I think that's some sort of internal zombie bookkeeping number, which... never mind, you get the picture.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2021 @ 10:04am

    Re: Added some suggestions

    Anything with a traditional forum.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2021 @ 10:40am

    Re:

    lolwut

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 11:21am

    Re:

    called out by Glenn Greenwald

    You say as though such a thing has any value whatsoever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2021 @ 7:28pm

    Re:

    Hi antidirt. How's the Malibu Media moonlighting coming along?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67. icon
    crade (profile), 20 Mar 2021 @ 4:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: On the ZOMBIE front, here's "Derek" out, 2nd 2 y

    I dont buy it.. gotta be alteriour motive not just nuts.. the way he dumps nonsense and never backs anything up or even acknowledge when shown indisputably wrong is all sabotage, no belief..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2021 @ 10:19am

    Re:

    Yeah, it's a silver lining in a way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2021 @ 5:19pm

    Re:

    The useful little phrase "by way of trade" would probably be useful in dealing with "a 100-person Mastodon instance".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2021 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re: More website suggestions

    Covering them is important if the company has any sort of business connection to America, otherwise FB will rearrange its corporate structure and carry on before from the Cayman Islands or wherever, making the law pointless.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Mar 2021 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: On the ZOMBIE front, here's "Derek" out, 2nd

    "I dont buy it.. gotta be alteriour motive not just nuts.. the way he dumps nonsense and never backs anything up or even acknowledge when shown indisputably wrong is all sabotage..."

    Plausible, I grant you, but on behalf of whom? Baghdad Bob's been at this shit for ten years.

    There is literally no chance anyone would pay him for those efforts, so he isn't a paid troll. Techdirt is not a blog overturning national or international policy so it's unlikely to be on the "troll to death" list of blogs of major vested interests.

    Meaning that Baghdad Bob has spent ten years consistently running the same rhetoric, largely unchanging save for which keywords he uses, in so similar a fashion that people who read his bullshit ten years ago still recognize his tells after reading two sentences in his latest "offer".

    That's either outright fanaticism or a serious case of grievance addiction demonstrated by an obsessive-compulsive who got so shocked over being called a "dumb motherfucker" ten years back he never got over it.

    No doubts about it, the man's insane. To the point where we can conclude there's a high likelihood he's either bedridden or incarcerated as most of the people who climb a water tower or shoot up a school are more in touch with reality than he is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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