Hillicon Valley — Google defends Section 230 in new brief | The Hill

Google said a Supreme Court ruling could “upend the internet” in a new brief that showcases the tech giant’s argument in a case scheduled for oral arguments next month.

Meanwhile, the millions of customers who lost money from the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange could get their money back, the founder said Thursday.  

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. For The Hill I’m Rebecca Klar. Subscribe here.

Google says high court could ‘upend the internet’

Google argued that if the Supreme Court rules to scale back a liability shield for internet companies the decision could lead to more censorship and hate speech online, according to a brief filed Thursday.

The filing showcases Google’s argument in a case facing the high court that centers around Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a controversial provision that protects companies from being sued over content posted by third parties.

  • “Gutting Section 230… would upend the internet and perversely encourage both wide-ranging suppression of speech and the proliferation of more offensive speech,” the filing states.
  • Sites with resources to take down objectionable content could “become beholden to heckler’s vetoes, removing anything anyone found objectionable,” while other sides could take “the see-no-evil approach” and disable filtering to “avoid any interference of constructive knowledge of third-party content,” the company argued. 

The case is based on allegations against Google raised by the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old U.S. citizen killed in a 2015 Islamic State terror attack in France.

Gonzalez’s family alleges Google-owned YouTube provided a platform for terrorist content and recommended content inciting violence and recruiting potential Islamic State supporters through YouTube’s recommendation algorithm.  

Read more here.

Money could come to FTX customers, founder says

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried on Thursday said the millions of customers who lost money from the collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange could get their money back.  

Bankman-Fried said in a Substack post that three factors combined to cause the “implosion” of FTX — the balance sheet of his hedge fund, Alameda Research, growing to $100 billion of net asset value, $8 billion of net borrowing and $7 billion of liquidity on hand; Alameda not successfully limiting its market exposure; and an “extreme, quick, targeted” crash caused by the head of another cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.  

  • Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas last month and is facing a variety of charges including wire fraud and securities fraud. The controversy surrounding him and FTX arose after the exchange filed for bankruptcy in November due to being unable to provide billions of dollars for customers’ withdrawal requests.
  • He was extradited from the Bahamas to stand trial in Manhattan and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.  

Read more here


The Coalition for App Fairness, an advocacy group that names Spotify, Match Group and Epic Games among its members, sent a letter to administration officials urging them to ensure digital competition is considered during upcoming negotiations for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).  

In a letter sent to the U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, the group warned about dominant tech platforms using the IPEF as a “backdoor mechanism to tie the Administration’s and Congress’s hands as they grapple with critical big tech regulatory and legislative reform.”

The letter also urges the officials to ensure nondiscrimination rules “distinguish between facially neutral policies, which may have a greater impact on larger firms, versus intentionally discriminatory policies that target firms by nationality.” 

  • The Coalition for App Fairness has been advocating for bills aimed at revamping antitrust laws. Particularly, last year the group backed the Open App Markets Act, which would have added rules banning dominant app stores like Google and Apple from certain rules they have in place, such as charging up to 30 percent commission fees from in-app purchases.
  • The bill advanced out of the Judiciary committees in the House and Senate but failed to make it across the finish line. Apple and Google defended their app store rules against accusations of anticompetitive behavior.  


An op-ed to chew on: Big labor’s attacks on the gig economy are anti-worker 

Notable links from around the web:  

The US government is still trying to find ways to regulate Big Tech. He has some ideas (CNN / Brian Fung) 

Aviation warning system that crashed was already a pain for pilots (NBC News / Kevin Collier) 

🐬 Lighter click: Your move, Hollywood 

One more thing: FAA outage stretches on

A wave of flight delays and cancellations rippled into Thursday after a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system outage grounded and canceled flights all over the U.S. on Wednesday. 

Nearly 9,000 flights were delayed on Thursday, according to FlightAware, an online flight tracker. More than 1,200 flights were canceled. 

The FAA temporarily ordered a pause on all flights Wednesday morning as it worked to fix an issue with its Notice to Air Mission (NOTAM) system, which communicates real-time flight hazards to pilots. More than 6,500 flights were delayed on Wednesday. The FAA eventually lifted the pause later Wednesday morning. 

After Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the federal government was not ruling out nefarious activity in the outage, the FAA blamed a corrupted database file for the failure. 

Read more here

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.



Communications Decency Act


Section 230

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