Now this is worth putting out the call to action for.
USMCA, the purported replacement to NAFTA, includes some provisions that spell bad news for anyone on the Internet with dissenting opinions to those who run the big tech companies.
The excellent Allum Bokhari reports (emphasis mine):
President Trump hailed the trade agreement he signed with Mexico and Canada last week as “great for all our countries.” Perhaps he doesn’t know that the NAFTA-replacing trade agreement, USMCA, gives tech giants in Silicon Valley a special legal privilege to censor his own supporters — and anyone else they find “objectionable.”
Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube all engaged in pre-election censorship against Republicans and Trump supporters. Yet they’ve managed to sneak a liability protection into President Trump’s trade bill that would make it even easier for them to censor their own users.
USMCA entrenches the tech giants’ legal protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which grant them legal immunity for user-generated content. This is an important part of the law that allows tech platforms to host a wide variety of speech with light-touch moderation.
But USMCA also entrenches tech companies’ right to censor without liability. Article 19.17 of the trade agreement gives tech companies immunity from any lawsuits arising from actions taken to “restrict material it considers to be harmful or objectionable.”
Section 230 has a similarly problematic provision, which needs to be amended by the next Congress if the censorship of the internet is to be stopped. But the new, even broader censorship provision, will make it nearly impossible for the tech giants’ privilege of legal immunity from any lawsuit that arises out of their censorship practices to be taken away.
Whereas Section 230 can be amended by the U.S. congress, USMCA is a trade agreement – once ratified by all three nations (the U.S., Canada, and Mexico), it will take further agreement from the three nations to amend it. And only one of those countries has a First Amendment. Canada, with its wide-ranging hate speech laws and far-left Prime Minister, would see little reason to make it harder for tech companies to censor “objectionable” content.
So what to do? The only thing we can: contact your Representatives and Senators in Washington.
That said, USMCA isn’t ratified yet. It must first be approved by both Houses of Congress.
Find your Representatives here and find your Senators here and let them know that you’re concerned for the future of free speech in America, and the little guys’ ability to have his voice heard. I already did.
Will it make a difference? Who knows? You never know until you try. And while we still have the right to vote and things haven’t gotten to the point they’re at in France, you might as well spend a few minutes crafting an email and making a phone call and spreading the word.
Remember: The Masters of the Universe hate you, and there is no incentive whatsoever for them to change their behavior unless Uncle Sam starts sniffing around and making noises that it might take action. As distasteful as that may be to your free-market principles, tough.
The government is ostensibly there to protect us from Goliath in whatever form he may take. Forget foreign intervention in elections–Silicon Valley poses a bigger threat.