'See Something, Say Something' Returns

A new bill repurposes the war on terror's pro-snitching mantra by requiring that tech companies share user data with the federal government.


The popular post-9/11 slogan "See Something, Say Something" is getting a digital makeover in Congress. A bill introduced by Sens. Joe Manchin (D–W. Va.) and John Cornyn (R–Texas) would repurpose the war on terror's pro-snitching mantra by requiring that tech companies monitor their customers more closely and share user data with the federal government. The bill, dubbed the See Something, Say Something Online Act, also would let people report "suspicious" social media posts and any other content they don't like directly to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

A new DOJ office would handle these "suspicious transmission activity reports" (STARs). The tips would be exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests, and tech companies would not be allowed to publicly acknowledge or discuss the information reported.

Each STAR submitted by an internet company would have to contain the name and geographic location of the user in question, along with any other associated metadata and identifying information in the company's possession. All online entities—not just Big Tech platforms like Twitter and Facebook—would be expected to comply with the law.

What kind of content would warrant a STAR? The Manchin-Cornyn bill is (perhaps deliberately) vague about that. The only two concrete examples it mentions are "an active sale or solicitation of sale of drugs or a threat of terrorist activity." But companies would be obliged to report any content that may facilitate, promote, incite, or otherwise assist "the commission of a major crime."

Failure to submit STARs would cost a company liability protection under Section 230, a law designed to distinguish between internet platforms and their users. Section 230 says "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." In effect, it means individuals are responsible for their own speech, while services that merely act as conduits for that speech are not (with some exceptions). Without Section 230, it would be very difficult for most of today's web platforms to exist.

Section 230 has long been a target of politicians who want more control over, and access to, people's internet speech. The See Something, Say Something Online Act may also be aimed at gutting encrypted communications, since it requires STARs not just for publicly posted content but also for private user communications. The Manchin-Cornyn bill would cover "any public or private post, message, comment, tag, transaction, or any other user-generated content or transmission." Platforms that currently encrypt communications shared directly and privately between users could miss "suspicious" activity and thereby risk potentially running afoul of the law.

"The bill would put online services into the impossible position of determining what is or isn't evidence of a crime, with crippling liability for failing to make the correct determination," said the Internet Association, a tech lobbying firm, in a statement about the bill. "This could result in an enormous amount of user information being shared with the government, with little constraint on its use."

First introduced in September 2020, the See Something, Say Something Online Act got a boost this year from the riot at the U.S. Capitol, which revived interest in old "tough on terror" policies. The bill was reintroduced in late January. But like so many of those measures, this one seems ill-suited to stopping actual terrorism. While the legislation would subject many innocent people to DOJ scrutiny, federal agents probably would be so overwhelmed with reports that separating real threats from the noise would be impossible.

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  1. “This could result in an enormous amount of user information being shared with the government, with little constraint on its use.”

    Good. I hope these tech companies send them a billion reports a day. We already know (or should know) that the reason it always seems that when anything bad happens the suspect was on the FBI’s radar is because everybody is on the FBI’s radar. The FBI has built the suspects equivalent of the Library of Babel, they’ve got more information than they can handle. Pile on the hay, make that haystack as big as possible. They’ll never find that needle if the haystack grows faster than they can search it.

    1. Not sure I agree. Seems to provide a large pile of material for mining under the Beria concepts of “show me the man and I’ll show you a crime”. … so Jerryskids, we see here that on Apr 25, you posted to the website that we have now declared subversive, 10 years in Gulag13.

      Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

      1. Yeah, but if they’re going to do that, they’re going to do it anyway. This is an effective technique for fucking this particular idiocy up.

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      2. The only thing worse than being paranoid is finding out you’re not.

      3. Don’t worry. Not having an online presence is the most subversive thing you can do.

    2. Send them a copy of every encrypted communication. Still encrypted, of course.

      “We thought that this *might* be applicable, so we forwarded it along.”

      The other thing to consider is the way people use code phrases. Like how when people say they’re “going to do something about climate change” they really mean they’re planning to blow up an elementary school. Clearly, these sorts of subtle attempts to get around the law will need to be reported as well.

      1. Encryption is automatically suspicious, right?

        1. Of course. You are hiding something from big brother.

        2. If you didn’t have something to hide, you wouldn’t be hiding it.

          *nods sagaciously*

  2. A new DOJ office would handle these “suspicious transmission activity reports”

    All part of the Suspicious Transmission Activity Surveillance Initiative, or STASI.

    1. *applause*

    2. The DOJ office will be known as the National Kommunications Violence Directorate.

      I know, it could probably use more work.

      1. Categorizing Hateful and Egregious Kommunications Authority?

        I *really* need a better “K” here…

      2. Communication starts with a “c”.

        1. But “NCVD” isn’t the name of an infamous Soviet internal security department.

          Unlike the NKVD and the ChKA.

          Thus my statement that I need a better “K” word.

          Since you’re surely aware of the theme here, mocking this bill with the name of infamous Eastern Bloc security groups known for being generally horrible people.

        2. Are you sure?

          1. He coined kommunications.

            1. What a klown.

            2. Kool!

            3. Um, He koined kommunications.

    3. And then they can question the suspects in a STAR chamber

      1. Violators must wear a yellow STAR on their lapel, and place one in the window..

    4. Brilliant.

  3. But companies would be obliged to report any content that may facilitate, promote, incite, or otherwise assist “the commission of a major crime.”

    So pretty much anything Maxine Waters says?

    1. Pretty much anything anyone says. Dude, do you even security?

    2. Maxine Waters has never said anything related to a crime like Trump has.

      1. I can’t tell, is this the “real” WK, or someone emulating being really, really stupid with a similar handle?

        1. The latter.

          1. You should feel badly that people can’t tell you apart. You don’t.

            1. He’s jealous since the mock account beats him to the punch for many of his hot takes.

  4. I don’t know much about John Cornyn, but the little I’ve read makes him sound like a George Bush Sr./Pierre Delecto type Republican who follows whatever he feels is the prevailing trend.
    Can someone fill me in?

    1. Complete Establishment Republican piece of shit. Former Texas Attorney General. Unlike ‘Wheels”‘, doesn’t even do the best Liberty-advancing option after holding his finger up to sense the breeze. I.e., if Cornyn were Governor, we’d still be doing the lockdown Kabuki charade.

    2. His only saving grace is that he’s not a Democrat. At least in name.

  5. “Section 230 has long been a target of politicians who want more control over, and access to, people’s internet speech”

    And libertarians who think that its Good Samaritan clause gives special protections and powers to certain platforms that nobody else gets.

    230 would be just fine if the Good Samaritan clause was turfed.

  6. Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin approve. And the ghosts of Mao and Stalin are jealous.

    1. First really solid ghost boner Stalin has had in a good long while.

  7. So “free speech” is replaced with “compelled speech” to gain the nefarious benefits of an irrelevant law.

    Seems to me that 230 is raising its ugly head as an opponent of free speech.

    1. Section 230 is the only thing protecting free speech on the internet.

      1. Complete bullshit and you know it. There was plenty of “free speech” on the internet prior to that 1996 law. The difference now is that trillion dollar corporations and amoral billionaires hide behind it to protect themselves from lawsuits and cement their positions by doing the government’s dirty work. They are not your friends. Stop trying to protect them.

        1. You’re arguing with a parody, just so you know.

          1. You are a parody as well.

            1. Ooh, zing!

      2. 1a protects free speech.

        230 opposes it by introducing the irrelevant and ludicrous notion that people communicating on web platforms are being “published”.

        The internet is how people communicate now. Communication is protected by 1a.

      3. This is the dumbest thing you’ve ever written. Which is saying a lot. I remember all the arrests prior to 230.

  8. I’m putting this forward as a general principle: When private companies are acting on behalf of the federal government, they should be treated like the government by the Supreme Court. When the government recruits private companies to violate our First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights on the government’s behalf, that doesn’t really change anything, and what we’re talking about here is the government violating our constitutional rights by way of private companies.

    This is an important point when we’re talking social media companies in other contexts, too. The argument that the social media companies are private parties with freedom of association, and they should be free to exercise those rights as they see fit, breaks down completely if they’re violating someone’s rights–at the behest of the federal government.

    Example 1: If Amazon kicked Parler off its web hosting service because the government told them to do so, under threat of an antitrust action, for instance, that is not an excellent example of a private party exercising its association rights.

    Example 2: If Apple and Google, meanwhile, kicked Parler off of their app stores because the government threatened to break them up if they didn’t, that is not an excellent example of private companies exercising their association rights.

    Example 3: If the Federal Trade Commission threatened to break up Facebook if they tolerated any links to Parler’s platform, Facebook complying wouldn’t be an excellent example of a private entity exercising their association rights.

    Rather, all three of these are examples of the government using the coercive power of government to violate Parler’s association rights and their users’ First Amendment right to free speech. And the fact that the government used private entities to do their dirty work doesn’t change that one bit.

    It’s the same principle in regards to this bill. The government shouldn’t be able to simply order private entities to routinely violate our Fourth Amendment rights and then claim that our Fourth Amendment rights aren’t being violated because the violations are being perpetrated by a private entity.

    No Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    —-Fourth Amendment

    This bill is not a warrant that particularly describes the place to be searched or the things to be seized. It’s covering dozens of different companies and millions of different people in different places on different services talking about different things. This bill is not a warrant that is being supported by oath or affirmation. It’s a bill that’s designed to circumvent the Fourth Amendment and violate the rights of millions of Americans by forcing private entities to do the government’s dirty work under threat of what will happen to those private entities if they don’t do as they’re told.

    1. Why our rights are violated, for any purpose, excuse or benefit, is irrelevant.

      They cannot be. Easy peasy.

      1. Well, to be sure, private parties aren’t obligated to respect your right to free speech on their property. If I put a sign up on your front yard that reads, “Vote for Karen!”, you are not obligated to keep my sign up in your yard. You have association rights of your own, and my right to free speech doesn’t include the right to use your property for my purposes over your objections and against your will.

        However, if the government comes in and tells everybody who lives on your street that if you leave a “Vote for Karen!” sign up in your front yard, you’ll be arrested for it at the very least, then taking Karen’s signs down stops being about the private property owner’s association rights and starts being about Karen’s right to free speech. The government is still violating Karen’s right to free speech–even if they’re forcing private parties to clear her signs out of their yards.

        1. The Supreme Court said you’re wrong.

          There is a very interesting supreme court case that deals with the rights of a company that owns a town square to limit speech. Marsh vs Alabama. The ruling was that a company that owned a company town could not limit speech in that town. Here is a link to the ruling.

          “ The more an owner, for his advantage, opens up his property for use by the public in general, the more do his rights become circumscribed by the statutory and constitutional rights of those who use it.”

          In other words, we carry our rights onto private property and everywhere we go.

          If you run a business which is open for the general public, you are obliged to respect ALL their human rights.

          1. What exactly do you mean by “open to the general public”? Are you sure that it applies to privately-owned social media websites?

            1. The town was “privately owned”, people just conducted their lives there. You know, eating, sleeping communicating etc.

              The court ruled that by opening the town for people’s use, the private company was bound by law to respect all their rights.

              A privately owned web platform that invites people to communicate must by law respect 1a in entirety.

              If someone breaks a law they should have their day in court. Any law that violates a right, is wrong.

              1. “A privately owned web platform that invites people to communicate must by law respect 1a in entirety.”

                You base this theory of yours on your (untested in any court case) analogy to this Marsh v Alabama case?

                1. Yes, and on logic.

                  If our constitutional rights can be violated within our borders by anyone, we don’t have rights.

                  Show me where the constitution specifically excuses private entities from respecting the constitution.

                  1. An “inalienable” right is one that cannot be given away by or taken away from, the possessor.

                    If the constitution should be interpreted as “not applying to private entities” then you have to eliminate from it the word “inalienable”.

                    1. Dee and her left wing allies don’t believe rights are inalienable, or more specifically “natural”. They argue that point regularly.

                    2. “Natural” is a red herring intended to distract people from the term “inalienable”.

                      Once distracted, the debate becomes theological and you’ve already lost.

                      Stay focused on “inalienable” and win achieving the same net result as “natural”.

                  2. The government can’t kick you out of a public building because they don’t like your opinion on abortion. If you want to kick somebody out of a dinner party at your house because you don’t like their opinion on abortion, you are and should be free to do so.

                    Rights are the obligation to respect other people’s choices, and property rights are no different. When I own a house and the land it’s on, I get to make the choices about who can and can’t use it, etc.

                    You might say that people who disagree with you on abortion don’t have a right to be on your property, so you aren’t really violating their rights when you kick them off your property or have them arrested for trespassing when they refuse to go.

                    That being said, the First Amendment does prohibit the government from kicking people off of public property for simply voicing their opinion.

                    1. If you invited me to dinner then reneged because I was exercising free speech, I could technically sue you.

                    2. Hey Rob Miserable Jew-Hating NAZI!

                      Sane people with a grip on reality don’t deny history, as history is defined by a vast, vast majority of historians, with (in cases like this) boat-loads of evidence. No, historians and history aren’t perfect… Nothing (or hardly anything) is. But your denial of overwhelming consensus history shows some pretty severe paranoia… Everyone is out to “get you” and to trick you, right?
                      I am doing a service to readers who aren’t familiar with your paranoia… Let all new (or newer) readers beware, much of what Rob Misek has to say, needs to be examined carefully!

                      The Earth is actually flat, and the center of the Universe.
                      A secret cabal of Jewish bankers is diabolically manipulating the world towards world-wide communism.
                      Space aliens secretly comprise 10% of Earthings, and are twisting us and them towards the day when they will enslave and eat us all!
                      The Earth is hollow, with a vast array of large, powerful beings living underneath us.
                      Being part of a TINY-TINY elite of humans who know the “secret truth” is the other element of your serious whack… Paranoia, and “special elite knowledge”… The later is evidence of mania, of egomania… Some serious self-examination on your part, would be in order!

                      You can show Rob Misek an endless parade of well-documented history books about the holocaust, interviews with a few survivors, and video of walking tours of holocaust museums and preserved genocide sites (gas chambers etc), photos of starved corpses stacked cordwood-style…
                      And Rob Misek will “summarize” for you, saying,
                      “OK, sure, I’ve heard that before! Ha!…
                      ‘Mustache Man Bad’ hyped propaganda!”

                    3. “If you invited me to dinner then reneged because I was exercising free speech, I could technically sue you.”

                      You won’t be invited to many dinner parties with an attitude like that.

                    4. Again with irrelevance.

                      Not impressed.

                    5. “If you invited me to dinner then reneged because I was exercising free speech, I could technically sue you.”

                      That is certainly a unique and original legal theory.

                    6. I don’t think inviting people to your house is an appropriate analogy. My house is not open to the general public, and I don’t spend money trying to convince people to come to my house.

                      A better analogy would be something like a concert, restaurant, or sporting event. When we sign up for social media or Amazon, etc, we trade value (our info, or a subscription) for the ability to be on their property, while the above also require some sort of payment to be on their property.

                      Imagine if a professional sports team went through their crowd of paying customers during the game and threw out everyone with the opposing teams jerseys on. This is clearly different than throwing someone out for screaming profanities at other people in the stands.

                      Internet companies are protected from lawsuits by the guy that gets thrown out for screaming profanities, but they are using that protection to get away with throwing out people that payed for a ticket, and are wearing the wrong jersey.

                    7. So in R Mac Land, then, the Association of Catholic Nuns Who Garden-Tend, if it sets up a chat group for discussing their hobby, should be forced to accept pro-abortion, anti-Catholic-nuns rants, on their internet forum? What happened to private property rights, and the right to freely associate, or not associate?

                    8. So what you’re saying, sqrlsy, is that you like to eat shit?

                    9. Some folks are intelligent, well-informed, and benevolent enough to competently discus ethics, morality, and politics. Others? They literally know how to talk shit, and little if anything else! I wonder if it is because they still poop their diapers?

                    10. “Internet companies are protected from lawsuits by the guy that gets thrown out for screaming profanities, but they are using that protection to get away with throwing out people that payed for a ticket, and are wearing the wrong jersey.”

                      a) Following your analogy, social media websites have always had the right, as private entities, to throw someone out of the game simply because they don’t like their jersey. Nobody gave them that as a special protection.
                      b) The common belief among libertarians is that the government does not need to be involved in such things. If a social media company throws people out for such arbitrary and unreasonable reasons, they will lose users, and advertising income.

              2. The Supreme Court has made mistakes before, and that doesn’t mean those wrongs shouldn’t be righted. I’m not sure this isn’t one of those cases, or that this case shouldn’t be revisited in light of this law. Isn’t that the FDR Court that decided Wickard vs. Filburn, too?

                Regardless, I think that may be a separate issue from what I was talking about.

                “The government is still violating Karen’s right to free speech–even if they’re forcing private parties to clear her signs out of their yards.”

                —-Ken Shultz

                My argument was that even IF IF IF private parties have the right to remove Karen’s signs from their property (of their own free will), the government is still violating Karen’s rights if the government is passing laws that direct private parties to remove her signs from their property under threat of arrest.

                If Congress passes a law forcing private parties to abridge the freedom of speech on the government’s behalf, then it is violating the First Amendment, which says that Congress cannot pass a law that abridges the freedom of speech.

                That case of the Jehovah’s Witness in Alabama would seem to be about whether it’s appropriate for the government to enforce private property rights in that case. Seems to me that what I’m talking about has it the other way around.

                We’re not talking about whether the government should enforce Amazon’s, Apple’s, and Google’s property rights. We’re talking about whether it’s appropriate for Amazon, Apple, and Google to violate the First Amendment (and Fourth Amendment) on the government’s behalf.

                My general principle is that when private companies are acting on behalf of the federal government, they should be treated like the government by the Supreme Court.

                1. Show me where the constitution specifically excuses private entities from respecting anyone’s inalienable rights.

                  And I’ll show you a constitution that doesn’t know the meaning of the word inalienable.

                  1. “Show me where the constitution specifically excuses private entities from respecting anyone’s inalienable rights.”

                    Once again, you seem to be locked into talking about private property–and completely ignoring what I’m saying about the government compelling private parties to perpetrate these violations under penalty of law.

                    Google is under an antitrust investigation, and the Democrats, who now control the government to whatever extent they wish, released a plan to break Big Tech companies up into smaller pieces because they tolerate “misinformation” on their platforms (among other reasons). Biden just nominated the author of that plan for commissioner at the Federal Trade Administration, which has sued Google on antitrust grounds in the past. Moreover, the Justice Department has its own antitrust case against Google before the courts, the apparent intent of which is to break them up into smaller pieces and prevent them from making further acquisitions.

                    Now that we’re talking about a law that would penalize Google for failing to report content and its authors to the government (which is the subject of this article), why should we pretend this is about the choices of a private company–when the law itself is clearly unconstitutional?

                    Regardless of whether Google has a right to make choices for itself about its own property, this law is clearly unconstitutional. It violates the First Amendment–which prohibits Congress from passing laws that violate our right to freedom of speech. Laws that violate the First Amendment violate the First Amendment regardless of whether it’s some government agency doing the actual violating or a private entity being required to violate our rights under penalty of law. The law itself is unconstitutional–regardless of who implements it.

                    1. Administration, commission, po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

                      You know what I meant.

                    2. Government involvement is irrelevant to the outcome, the violation of rights.

                      You may want to argue about irrelevance. I try to avoid it.

                      The issue is the violation of inalienable rights.

                  2. The Constitution is specifically a charter FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. It does not claim to create free-standing rights that can be enforced against private citizens. That was never what the Founders contemplated. If anything, that’s much more of a European concept, where the constitution spells out how the whole of society should be organized. America’s constitution was deliberately minimalistic, designed to preserve the existing societies of the individual states, rather that create a new social order from whole cloth.

                    1. If that were true, there would be no mention of inalienable rights which are eternal attributes to every possessor and can never be given or taken away.

                      Show us all where the constitution specifically excuses private entities from respecting rights.

                    2. There is no mention of “inalienable rights” in the United States Constitution. You are thinking of the Declaration of Independence, which talks about “unalienable rights”.

                    3. What rights was the Declaration referring to?

                      Are you suggesting that it was wrong?

                    4. The DoI states there are unalienable rights, but the Constitution is not the only vehicle by which those rights are defended. That is the role of ordinary legislation. Hence the DoI reads, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The state is the vehicle by which we defend our rights against fellow citizens who would seek to deprive us of them. But what protects our rights from the state itself? That’s what the Constitution is for. That’s it.

                    5. No, I am informing you of some factual information that you seem to be lacking.

                    6. Irrelevant information.

                    7. “But what protects our rights from the state itself? That’s what the Constitution is for.“

                      The constitution only enumerates inalienable rights.

                      If the government, lawmakers and enforcement don’t secure those rights, we have no government.

                2. If that private company in Alabama were preventing Jehovah’s Witnesses from coming onto their private property and passing out literature–because Congress passed a law that said they would punish any company that allowed Jehovah’s Witnesses onto their property to pass out literature–then this case would be a clear precedent. And, I suspect, the Court might have found against the government.

                  1. The use of the term “inalienable” in the constitution demonstrates that your argument is irrelevant.

                    It doesn’t matter who, why or how anyone attacks an inalienable right. Such a right cannot by definition leave the possessor, ever.

                    1. Your inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness can be surrendered through the commission of a crime, but in order to accomplish that, the government needs to observe your rights to due process.

                      Property rights can be willingly transferred. Speech rights can be willfully surrendered in a legally binding way through a nondisclosure agreement. I keep using words like “willingly” and “surrendered” for a reason.

                      This is why I see mens rea as being so important. The real purpose of a jury, in my opinion, is to determine whether the defendant willfully forfeited his rights. Having a jury “of your peers” do this is of immense importance because the government cannot take our rights away. If you willfully choose to violate someone’s rights through rape or murder, you willfully forfeit your right to liberty–even if you retain certain other rights like freedom of religion, etc.

                      Inalienable means the government can’t take them away and no one else can take them away. However, they can violate your rights! They do it all the time. This idea of “inalienable” is meant to thwart misanthropic authoritarians like Tony who insist that our rights only exist if the government says so. “Inalienable” is not meant to suggest that you can’t be imprisoned for committing a crime or that the government must respect your right to bear arms in prison.

                      P.S. I am not required to tolerate your right to bear arms on private property.

                    2. There are laws that allow the violation of rights because lawmakers and others are corrupt. It’s till wrong.

                      Any law that compels people to speak or not violates 1a because that right cannot be given away under any circumstances.

                      You can assume I’ll be armed. I really don’t care if you don’t invite me to dinner.

            2. Just say you don’t give a shit about free speech and prefer government/corporatism collusion.

              1. Just say you don’t give a shit about being honest!

                Readers, beware! Do not be deceived by JesseAZ! JesseAZ does NOT believe that LIES are bad in ANY way! Only ACTIONS matter, ethically or morally! …
                “Words are words dumbfuck. Actions are where morals and ethics lie.”, says JesseAZ. When confronted with offers of hush money, illegal commands (from a commanding military officer), offers of murder for hire, libel, slander, lies in court, yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, inciting riots, fighting words, forged signatures, threatening to kill elected officials, false representations concerning products or services for sale… these are all “merely” cases of “using words”. Just like the Evil One (AKA “Father of Lies”), Jesse says lies are all A-OK and utterly harmless! So do NOT believe ANYTHING that you hear from JesseAZ!

                Also according to the same source, JesseAZ is TOTALLY on board with dictatorship (presumably so long as it is an “R” dictator that we are talking of).
                With reference to Trump, JesseAZ says…
                “He is not constitutionally bound on any actions he performed.”

                I say again, this is important…
                “He is not constitutionally bound on any actions he performed.”
                We need a BRILLIANTLY persuasive new movie from JesseAZ to “Wake Up, America!”, to flesh out the concept that “The Triumph of The Will of The Trump, Trumps All”! Including the USA Constitution. In fact, USA military personnel should start swearing allegiance to Trump, NOT to some stupid, moldering old piece of paper!
                Previous Powerful People have blazed a path for us to follow here, slackers!!!

    2. “When private companies are acting on behalf of the federal government, they should be treated like the government by the Supreme Court.”

      The courts kinda-sorta acknowledged this when Trump’s Twitter account was declared a designated public forum.

      1. The real distinction here is between private parties doing something at the behest of government or doing it of their own free will.

        When the government compels private companies to violate our constitutional rights, they are still in violation of the Constitution.

        The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech”, and they don’t escape the unconstitutionality of their actions by making a law that requires private parties to violate our constitutional rights.

        If the law violates our rights, whether it does so through private parties or through government agencies is beside the point. Threatening to throw authors in jail for writing something that criticizes the government violates the First Amendment, but so does threatening to throw private publishers in jail if they publish that author. The question isn’t whether it’s a private or public actor in this case. It’s whether the law violates our constitutional rights.

        1. P.S. It’s unfortunate that Section 230 gets dragged into these discussions when it isn’t necessarily central to the argument.

          We can oppose this law on First Amendment and Fourth Amendment grounds regardless of what we think of Section 230.

  9. Am I surprised that such legislation has bipartisan sponsorship? Not so much.


    NEW – British secret agents have started “green spying” on the world’s biggest polluters to make sure they keep their climate-change promises, the head of MI6 has confirmed (Sky News)

    1. The executions in China and India should be interesting viewing.


    America, if the ruling class doesn’t want you to breathe freely, eat a hamburger, drive a car, celebrate the Fourth of July, excel in schools, stand for national anthem, mourn at a funeral, pray in church, visit dying loved ones or pursue American Dream, we *may* have a problem.

    1. That statement is the essence of right-wing victimhood. Truth is conservatives have about half the vote, and therefore half the power, in America.

      The one person who has done the most damage to conservative power is Donald Trump, by his splitting of the Republican Party.

      1. “…The one person who has done the most damage to conservative power is Donald Trump, by his splitting of the Republican Party.”

        TDS-addled bullshit.
        The people who have caused the greatest harm are TDS-addled asshole like this with their adolescent focus on personality.
        Please, it you aren’t capable of growing up, fuck off and die.

        1. “Please, it you aren’t capable of growing up, fuck off and die.”

          The irony contained in this sentence. Oy!

          1. The self-deluded bullshit in your reply!

      2. Shorter White Knight: “Why are you hitting yourself conservatives? The DNC’s media are only moving your arms, it’s your own hands (RINOs) that are doing the hitting.

      3. Clearly the default libertarian position is to blame Republicans for the actions of Democrat governors and mayors. That’s why you guys look crazy when you say I’m a Democrat.

        1. Hi, Tulpa!

          1. I see you avoid arguments that highlighr your absurdity.

      4. At least half of those things were actually done last year by the ruling class, especially in Democrat controlled states.

      5. Lol. Wk acting the troll again. You talking about others acting as victims is hilarious though.

  12. 230 allowed Trump to be treated unfairly, so it’s gotta go!

    1. Correct. 230 is a red herring. You’re supposed to think that because it enables some speech in an environment of censorship that it’s a good law that guarantees free speech.

      In reality, just “some speech” isn’t free speech.

    2. Tell me about why you think that the Good Samaritan clause isn’t anti-libertarian, sarcasmic.

      1. Despite the words, Good Samaritan, being used in the title of the clause, it’s a straightforward, uniform clause that doesn’t hand out any special privileges to one party that it doesn’t also hand out to all others.

        1. “it’s a straightforward, uniform clause that doesn’t hand out any special privileges to one party that it doesn’t also hand out to all others.”

          How can you type this bullshit with a straight face? Anyone can read the clause and see that’s not true.
          Who do you imagine you’re actually fooling?

          1. Here’s the text of Section 230:


            Please quote below the parts of the text that grant privileges to only certain parties.

            1. Honestly, I cannot.

              I have a lot of political beliefs I get from my right-wing echo chamber. I’m not used to anyone pushing back on my beliefs or asking me to defend them.

              1. How cute. Wk is trolling with cloned names.

                1. White Knight’s about as obvious as sarcasmic with a woody after a bottle of scotch.
                  Too full of rage and self-pity to be subtle about what he’s up to.

                  1. Hey Mamma! Is karma a bitch, or what?

                    How’s your new club “Expert Christian Theologians for Justifying Identity Theft” coming along? Ya got your own werb slight yet for that them thar BRILLIANT thoughts of yers-uns?

                    1. F/R for the spaz

                2. Whoever posted that, is using the handle, “Mother’s Lament”, with no hair spaces or other forms of handle spoofing. Seems like it would be the real Mother’s Lament who is posting the comments.

                  1. Nobody believes that.

              2. Whoa, Mamma’s Cement-Headedness is being HONEST for once!

                Next? Hell freezes over!

                1. Well, maybe this idiot does.^

            2. “Please quote below the parts of the text that grant privileges to only certain parties”

              Here you go, you fucking idiot. You probably should have read 230 before posting the link:

              (c)Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material
              (1)Treatment of publisher or speaker
              No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

              1. Umm, dude, that protection is offered to any “publisher or speaker”. Not a single special class of publisher or speaker was enumerated in that text.

                Twitter, Facebook, my aunt Emma’s knitting club website all offered exactly the same protection.

          2. This is the guy who struggled to understand ad hominem attacks 2 days ago.

            1. That was you and Chuck P. struggling with the concept, not Mother’s Lament.

              1. Pretty sure White Knight was the only one who didn’t get the concept that day.

                1. Hey, stop spoofing my handle by adding a hair space as the first character!

                2. White Knight made a convincing argument that distrusting Cyber Ninjas because of their association with Lin Wood and other history of association with the right wing cannot be an “ad hominem fallacy” since Cyber Ninjas has advanced no argument.

                  Since they have made no argument, there is no argument being avoided by calling out their biases.

                  I hate it that White Knight’s logic is so solid, but I am an honest person and must admit he is right when he is right.

    3. Great post, as usual, sarcasmic.

    4. Amazing insight sarcasmic. Did I ever tell you what a genius you are?

    5. sarcasmic is awesome and never drinks too much.

      1. Hi, Tulpa!

        1. Hi, sarcasmic!

    6. I think sarcasmic may be the most insightful man to ever grace the comments.

      1. In his brilliance sarcasmic has penetrated the secrets of the universe.

        1. He’s like that.

  13. Yet one more reason to avoid twitterface.


    Kudos to @sheffielduni for its plans to “decolonise” the engineering curriculum.

    I for one will be boycotting all forms of transportation that adhere to that racist Isaac Newton’s so-called “laws of motion”.


    1. Fucking friction, always trying to slow a brother down.


    DEMANDS FOR REFORM: The family of Ma’Khia Bryant is joining growing calls to re-evaluate police use-of-force policies after the 16-year-old was fatally shot by an officer. @TrevorLAult has the details. [Video]

    1. That is interesting. I wonder what the “re-evaluate police use of force policies” would be called for if someone had been swinging a knife at a member of the Bryant family, and the cop had merely shouted “Stop” or “Drop the Knife”, but the perp didn’t comply.

    2. The police make a lot of mistakes and frequently kill people they didn’t have to, but using deadly force to stop an attempted murder before it happens is one case where everyone should be applauding their actions.

      1. Yeah, this one is a crazy hill for reasonable response advocates to die on.

        1. If BLM stuck to only getting outraged about reasonable cases, there would be way fewer excuses to loot Targets and burn down bookstores.

          1. BLM has nothing to do with any of the rioting and looting that’s happening.

            1. Just because they didn’t show notarized membership cards..

            2. Hi, Tulpa!

      2. They didn’t get free Nike shoes after the (Waters’ manipulated) Chauvin verdict and there hasn’t been an April stimulus so this is the best they got.

  16. Bipartisan support…. seems like that’s usually a bad sign.

    1. Transpartisan support

      1. What about Gaypartisan support?
        You monster.

  17. Then, the government will be flooded by millions of “hits”, be overwhelmed by it all, and no actual improvement will take place.

    1. Some data mining contractor will be glad to come in for a huge fee.

      1. But it would have to be a neutral professional one.

        1. Totally!

        2. So no no-bid to Haliburton? Biden would probably hand select some Chinese company.

          1. Correct.

    1. Twitter is an enemy of free speech globally, and just because it is a quasi-priVaTe coMpaNY shouldn’t excuse it from being identified as an enemy of free speech.

      1. Nobody in God’s green world _needs_ to post little 280-character posts to a website. Nobody who is denied tweeting for whatever reason is being denied anything important.


    The mainstream media is propaganda. The mainstream media is propaganda. The mainstream media is propaganda.

    Auditing an election is a way to restore trust in our elections, not an attempt to “undermine the results”. If Democrats are sure they won, they shouldn’t worry. [Link]

    1. Not if the Arizona Republicans are hiring “Cyber Ninjas”, whom we know are _not_ impartial analysts.

      1. That’s okay because the Maricopa election officials were not impartial either, so it all evens out.

        Facetiousness aside, perhaps you can enlighten us as to why you’re so terrified of the audits? Even if the auditors are biased, if they claim to find something it can always be analyzed.

        1. For the same reason he clung to that bullshit regarding the cop who died of a stroke; it could again prove he’s full of shit.

          1. Oh, he’s full of shit for sure. We know this. And he knows that we know that he is full of shit. The disconnect, and why he keeps posting, is that not all know that he knows that we know that he knows he is full of shit.

              1. It doesn’t get more White Knight than that.

          2. We still don’t know all the details about his death. Only time will tell.

            1. Hi, Tulpa!

            2. “I will wait until the heat death of the universe for my preferred outcome”.

            3. “We still don’t know all the details about his death. Only time will tell.”

              I saw this, took it to be from the TDS-addled asshole, and was not surprised.

            4. Still waiting for a 180 regarding actual cause of death (natural causes) hoping it can be blamed on the peaceful* protest?

              *Ashli Babbitt was murdered that day while she was peacefully protesting.

        2. “Facetiousness aside, perhaps you can enlighten us as to why you’re so terrified of the audits?”

          Honestly, it reads like kayfabe. “Oh no! You can’t look there!”
          The Right gets all excited, looks, and nothing’s there.
          “See! We told you the Election was fair!!!”

          The relevant Maricopa individuals have had six months to hide shit. You really think an audit is going to find anything beyond, “Hey, where’d these records go?”, at this point?

        3. Terrified? I’m not.

      2. And straight to the ad hominem attack despite the firm live streaming and opening all data open as well. Weird how you and Jeff latched onto democrat criticism before the report is even out.

        1. First of all, it’s not some obscure Democratic talking point. It’s the central point of their lawsuit, so it’s not exactly some obscure talking point from some DNC mailing list.

          Second, it’s a pretty solid criticism, and the only people who cannot see that are right-wing partisans. Even a non-partisan libertarian can see the problem with hiring Cyber Ninjas.


    BREAKING: Court Orders Google to Dox Writers of Anti-Antifa Blog [link]

    1. Shopping for a judge who will give the right verdict is standard practice in Canada nowadays.

      1. If you don’t like it then why don’t you move to a province or territory that’s not controlled by the NDP?

        I hear northern Alberta is nice and fascist like you?

    2. When’s the last time you were called a house n or uncle Tom?

      Will you at least say why you refuse to answer?

      I know you’re not very bright, but come on!

      1. two asshole flags.

  20. Become an informant on your fellow citizens like Angela Merkel did for the East German Staatspolizei!

  21. If that law ends social media’s cancer on society I am all for it.

  22. You know what. Maybe the courts can just rule that accepting liability protection or subsidies from the government makes you a government actor subject to the bill of rights. It’d solve a lot of problems where the government uses behind the scenes manipulations nudge/force third parties to violate citizens rights for them.

    1. “Maybe the courts can just rule that accepting liability protection … from the government makes you a government actor subject to the bill of rights.”

      Why should they, though? Especially if the liability protection is granted universally to all private websites?

      1. Because the government shouldn’t be handing out special protections for violating other people’s rights?

        1. Oh, and we’ll “fix” that by punishing “Party A” for the writings of “Party B”? I hope that Illogical Illocust gets punished for what I have written! If that’s what it will take for Illogical Illocust to LEARN simple concepts of justice, perhaps?

        2. Somehow, in the right-wing mind, providing a person with a place to post stuff online, free of charge, is violating their rights.

          1. Excellent short-and-sweet summary! Also, “They took down my worthless rant of a post; WAAAAA!” They are insatiable spoiled brats, basically.

  23. I look forward to meeting all of you in the internment camp.

  24. This will only make big business more powerful – because they can exploit these laws to quash their smaller competition, which doesn’t have the resources to comply.

    The fact is, we’re all grown up and can take care of ourselves and we don’t need big government to patrol and control us anymore. Also without big government to partner with, big business will have to cater to its customers (us) instead of pandering to voters.

  25. I miss the 1990s internet. Probably because I wasn’t on the internet in the 1980s.

    1. A professor granted me temporary access to the Internet so I could use the grad students’ printer. That was in 1990.

      And by 1993, AOL users started the degradation of the quality of discourse on the Internet.

    2. Sadly, Canada was allowed to connect to ARPAnet in 1989.

    3. In the 80’s there were privately run BBS systems (think low-tech facebook/napster), and expensive network options like Compuserve.

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  29. Now I understand why libertarians don’t want to recognize inalienable rights.

    Because you can’t sell them.

  30. Now I understand why libertarians don’t want to recognize inalienable rights.

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