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U.S. SAFE TECH Act would be a game changer for internet accountability and advertising

A new bill introduced by Senate Democrats proposes to change Section 230, core U.S. legislation that shields social media and Internet providers from liability for publishing false or misleading information and from responsibility for the user content they publish. Section 230, which the New York Times quoted President Biden as saying should be “immediately revoked,” gives the Internet companies unique immunity not granted to publishers or other media. The SAFE TECH Act would make an exception “when the provider or user has accepted payment to make the speech available,” which would impact not only advertising but other kinds of paid services, including for premium web hosting. On the upside, the change would require more accountability from companies and would provide recourse to victims of cyberstalking and Internet harassment.

Note: I’m currently reading Jeff Kossoff’s excellent book, The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet, about Section 230 and its history.

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IT’S THE LAW (2/9/2021)

February 9, 2021

Virginia is now the second U.S. state to pass a comprehensive data privacy law. The Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA) provides consumers the right to know what data is being collected, to opt-out of collection and to refuse use of their information for targeting, profiling, or for sale. However, it does not give consumers private right of action, a choice that eased passage and may make it a model for other legislation.

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Meta Releases Lying, Offensive AI and Pretends to Be Surprised

November 23, 2022

Like trouble, bad behavior by Meta shows up whether you look for it or not.  The latest is an open-source language model that was supposed to provide reliable search results because it was trained on academic papers.  Alas, it was quickly withdrawn after reviewers found that it returned results that were grammatical and plausible but also incorrect, not to mention filled with “antisemitism, homophobia, and misogyny.”  How can this be a surprise?

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