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Internet Way of Networking 3 December 2020

Internet Society Warns against Any Potential Repeal of U.S. Intermediary Liability Protections

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (47 U.S.C. § 230) is the pivotal provision of law in the United States that protects online intermediaries – not only Internet Service Providers but also applications like social media platforms and infrastructure providers like cloud services – from liability for content their users publish using their services.

This Tuesday the President announced he would veto critical U.S. legislation unless it included a repeal of Section 230. This is the latest in a line of twenty bills and regulatory proposals that threaten intermediary liability protection in the last six months alone. Yet even the most radical of those regulatory proposals don’t go as far as repealing Section 230 altogether.

It’s dangerous and reckless that such a critical policy for the Internet be dismissed as a tack on to a must-pass piece of legislation without serious consideration for the role it plays and the impact that its repeal could have on the future of the Internet.  If the trend continues, it won’t be the last such attempt to remove a staple of innovation online.

The Internet Society strongly recommends that the U.S. Congress and President Trump consider the impact that repealing Section 230 would have on the Internet’s foundation and infrastructure. Policymakers need to conduct an Internet impact assessment before making decisions that could affect the Internet to make sure their actions protect the foundation that keeps it working for everyone.

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