back to article Tech titans demand free speech law to head off President Trump

Donald Trump has already started bringing America together by forging an unlikely alliance between Republicans in Congress and Silicon Valley. Both groups are working on pushing through a bill aimed at protecting free speech online before the end of the Obama Administration, because neither believe a President Trump would …

  1. Pirate Dave
    Pirate

    Wow

    It's pretty fucked-up when an outgoing Congress feels the need to hurriedly pass a law so a potential future president can't fuck things up even worse if he gets elected.

    I just hope they put a sunset clause into it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow

      > "I just hope they put a sunset clause into it."

      Why, because frivolous lawsuits are a Trump-only thing, and we won't need protection from them after he's gone?

      1. Pirate Dave
        Pirate

        Re: Wow

        "Why, because frivolous lawsuits are a Trump-only thing, and we won't need protection from them after he's gone?"

        No, it's because we've managed to survive for ~240 years WITHOUT whatever this new law is, so it's probably not needed long-term.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow

      Interestingly, at least two of those companies - facebook and twitter - just merrily signed up to the EU's latest efforts into suppressing (very poorly defined, of course) "hate speech."

      Don't sound like fearless campaigners for freedom to me.

      1. TheProfessorY

        Re: Wow

        I was about to write the same thing. The gaul of these companies, on the one hand, to say that the US must have the right to free speech and, on the other, to sign up with the EU to force citizens there to be moderated and vetted for what they say, is appalling. I am sure that they cow-towing the line with the EU commissioners has nothing to do with an investigation into them that has been recently opened by the EU mandarins............. That, along with Microsoft recently giving its support to a remain in the EU campaign shows where the loyalties of these Tech Companies lie.

        1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          Re: Wow

          Um, if you are calling yourself 'Professor', it's 'gall', not 'gaul' and 'kowtow' not 'cow-tow'.

          Just sayin'

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Wow

            it's 'gall', not 'gaul' and 'kowtow' not 'cow-tow'

            Maybe the Professor was referring to the well-known fact that the French executives of Facebook and Twitter have been accused of rustling cattle.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wow

        I got the impression this new "anti-hate speech" stuff was designed to stop bollocks spreading. For example, you can caption an image with something you just made up, and post it, then watch people believe it and use it as a case for something in discussions.

        The EDL are REALLY good at this.

        1. pixl97

          Re: Wow

          >I got the impression this new "anti-hate speech" stuff was designed to stop bollocks spreading

          The media makes crap up about politicians all the time? Is that not bollocks spreading?

          >you can caption an image with something you just made up

          And the media along with the government and 'misreport' or just not report at all on things like large amount of crime being caused by refugees.

          You should have the freedom to say what you want, and the freedom to be sued into the ground when it causes problems.

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Wow

        faceb[itch]ook and tw[a,i]tter "Don't sound like fearless campaigners for freedom to me."

        me either. not after FB's somewhat admission recently of filtering the 'trending' news according to their politics.

        This whole proposed legislation sounds like anti-Trump FUD to me. If you actually LISTEN to what Trump says, he's much more of a libertarian than ANY of the other candidates.

        And libertarians don't want to crush freedom of speech.

    3. DDearborn

      Re: Wow

      Hmmm

      Actually the truth is that Mr. Trump is far more likely to support free speech laws than either Hillary or Sanders. Both of whom have at one time or another supported efforts and legislation which effectively curbs free speech. This article is merely one more in an endless line of thousands of anti-Trump hit pieces that not just the US media and establishment have been spewing out nonstop, but England as well. Such actions are further confirmation that like the US, England is in firm grasp and under the complete control of Jewish/zionist interests. These 2 related groups have the most to fear from a Trump Presidency. On the other hand, the other 97% in America have the most to cheer about with Mr. Trump as President.

      How many articles bashing Bernie Sanders have you read on this website? How many articles critical of Israel in general and zionism in particular have you read? For all you Brits who aren't aware (not surprising because the "media" has gone to extraordinary lengths to hide it) In 1963 Sanders graduated from college and was thus subject to the draft. This was well before the Vietnam anti-war fervor. The US had only 18,000 "advisors" in country at that time, most of them operating in total secrecy. The average American had no idea where Vietnam was, let alone that in a couple of years they would be protesting against it. The point is that Sanders had no reason to expect he was going to be sent off to war. What did Sanders do? He tried to dodge the draft completely by filing for conscientious objector status. The US government turned him down flat. At which point he fled to Israel. He decided that rather than take the chance he might have to serve America in uniform, he would serve Israel on a Kibbutz instead. In the 60's all Israeli kibbutzes were under direct military control. In fact, serving on a Kibbutz at that time was considered an alternative form of service to Israel. Sander's could not join the IDF because he would have forfeited his US citizenship.

      This dual citizen traitor is what the US media is protecting and promoting to be President of the United States. Contrast that with Mr. Trump has stated emphatically that as President he will always put America and Americans first and you can see why the zionist/jewish interests are objecting. No more special treatment for Israel and jewish interests. No more putting those interests ahead of America and Americans. THIS IS WHAT THE "MEDIA" IS SO AFRAID OF WITH A TRUMP PRESIDENCY!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Wow

        You may have something interesting to say.

        But this being in your first sentences "England is in firm grasp and under the complete control of Jewish/zionist interests."

        Makes me think it may be bollocks.

        Also I think this site has mostly Trump news because it likes to take the piss and he is often such an easy target.

        1. Catweazle666

          Re: Wow

          "Makes me think it may be bollocks." --- That's because it is, complete and utter. And antisemitic with it.

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: Wow

            I was trying to be polite. :)

      2. x 7 Silver badge

        Re: Wow

        " THIS IS WHAT THE "MEDIA" IS SO AFRAID OF WITH A TRUMP PRESIDENCY!!!!!!!!!!"

        does "trumping" have the same meaning in the USA as it does in the free english-speaking world?

  2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    vexatious litigant, eh?

    Given the high bar for libel suits under US law, I'm not sure I see the need.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: vexatious litigant, eh?

      I'm not sure I see the need either, Trump huffs and puffs a lot, but how much of it does he really mean?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        1. Dadmin

          Re: vexatious litigant, eh?

          Lest we forget his great effort to hide his income, or the fact that he will be on trial this fall in NY for the scam that is/was Trump University[sic]. Or the misleading of his poor ding-a-ling followers with *great* products like; Trump; water, wine, steaks, anal suppositories, and abortion clinics. Anything to get some attention, just like a fucking 5 year old kid. Again, don't not fear good peoples of the world, we shall keep this asshole from becoming anything more than he is today; a pretentious bag of farts with a squirrel dead on it's head.

          True fact; that thing on his head a highly expensive weave that, surprise surprise, the guy that invented the procedure works in a clinic right in the same building, which he installs on his head once a week. Basically, a live-in hair restoration guy (with an equally ridiculous hairdo) on 24 hour standby. That's a "leader?" I know two cats who make better decisions, have better hair, and are generally better behaved than an orange turd with a fancy toupee.

          1. RealityisntReal

            Re: vexatious litigant, eh?

            While you're slamming him for hiding his income maybe you should also acknowledge the fact that his competitor has repeatedly refused to release how much she received from her Wall Street connections. And while he is on trial for a failed (possibly misleading) business attempt she is facing FBI investigation on deliberately violating US security restrictions as a former head of state (something a little more important I am thinking).

            Right now in the US we face a choice of voting for a fool or a totally insane liberal. Pretty much the same kind of choice we have had for the last 20 years - vote for the person you hate the least.

            Based on the factual results of what the liberals have managed to accomplish (destroy) in the US, anything is better than more of them. Obama's signature accomplishment (ObamaCare health insurance) has caused an increase in everyone's health insurance premiums (at least those who don't get the government handouts) and pretty much everyone who had health insurance prior to this government handout have seen their actual insurance coverage drop - except the women who now are guaranteed free (no co-pay) birth control. I'm thinking those people paying for the drugs to control their actual life threatening health conditions had wished they'd been given a free government benefit.

            1. Blank Reg

              Re: vexatious litigant, eh?

              The problem with Obamacare is that the entire US health system is just stupid. It's the most expensive health care system in the world, yet gets the least bang for the buck thanks to the for-profit system.

              Most of the rest of the world does very will with nationalized health care, but the corporations making loads of money in the US system won't let that happen.

              1. scarletherring

                Re: vexatious litigant, eh?

                "... but the corporations making loads of money in the US system won't let that happen."

                And the root cause underlying this, and many other problems virtually unique to the US, is exactly that such corporations are able to block progress for the vast majority to protect the profits for the already filthy rich.

                A Princeton study of a couple of years back found that there is essentially zero correlation between public support for proposed laws and their chances of passing, while finding a disproportionate correlation with special interest's support. In other words, the US is not a democracy in practice. And that was even before Citizen's United and McCutcheon!

                But don't worry: with TTIP and TPP, this kind of thing will arrive at theatres near you!

            2. Blake St. Claire

              Re: vexatious litigant, eh?

              > Obama's signature accomplishment (ObamaCare health insurance)

              Real name: Affordable Care Act (ACA). The haters are the ones who started calling it Obamacare. It really should be called Romneycare though, because it's pretty much exactly what Romney (a Republican BTW) signed into law when he was the governor of Massachusetts.

              > has caused an increase in everyone's health insurance premiums (at least those who don't get the government handouts)

              Everyone's? No, not mine.

              > and pretty much everyone who had health insurance prior to this government handout have seen their actual insurance coverage drop

              Again, not mine. And I have a really tough time believing that I'm very different from the average guy or gal here buying health care coverage.

              /me wonders what you're smoking.

              1. Darth.0

                Re: vexatious litigant, eh?

                >> has caused an increase in everyone's health insurance premiums (at least those who don't get the government handouts)

                Everyone's? No, not mine.<<

                Nor mine.

                >> and pretty much everyone who had health insurance prior to this government handout have seen their actual insurance coverage drop

                Again, not mine. And I have a really tough time believing that I'm very different from the average guy or gal here buying health care coverage.<<

                You're not.

                >>/me wonders what you're smoking.<<

                More than likely, orange vapors.

              2. noominy.noom

                Re: vexatious litigant, eh?

                Mine went up but by the normal 20% per year. My deductible is way higher, also. But, my day to day coverage is better, for example preventative care is 100% covered. A wash for me. So the haters make a lot of exaggerated claims. I understand anything Obama backed caused cancer and destroyed the economy, but the ACA hasn't caused me any big problems.

            3. PhilDin

              Re: vexatious litigant, eh?

              Yes the criticism of Trump is unfounded because HILARY! EVERYONE LOOK AT HILARY!!!!

          2. agatum

            Re: vexatious litigant, eh?

            we shall keep this asshole from becoming anything more than he is today

            Would you be so kind as to keep that promise? I am truly worried world will be a lot worse place to live if that individual gets to rule.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: vexatious litigant, eh?

        I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your wall down!

        (But you're paying for it)

    2. Terry Cloth
      Thumb Up

      Vexatious litigants galore

      Those with money (typically corporations) can shut down some little guy they don't like simply by bringing a suit that the little guy can't afford (monetarily) to defend, much less bring a countersuit for SLAPP or vexatious litigation. The suit needn't have any merit. That's too true in much of our U.S. legal system. (Look at copyright and patent giants, e.g.) This sounds like it restores some balance: ask the judge up front to look at the basis of the suit, rather than having to file a countersuit or an appeal. Sounds good to me. (IANAL, and I haven't read the text of the bill, so I may be full of it.)

      1. Terry Cloth

        Re: Vexatious litigants galore

        OK, now I have read the text. It seems reasonably straightforward (for a product of Congress). However, IAstillNAL.

    3. G.Y.

      Re: vexatious litigant, eh?

      The high bar is to _WIN_ the suit, _NOT_ to file, scare, and force the defendant into big legal expenses

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Securing Participation, Engagement, and Knowledge Freedom by Reducing Egregious Efforts"

    Must Every Name be Transformed in an Acronym Lately?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: "Securing Participation, Engagement, and Knowledge Freedom by Reducing Egregious Efforts"

      Uh...yes. Unless it's catchy, it risks not drawing enough support.

      So, yeah, kinda necessary.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Securing Participation, Engagement, and Knowledge Freedom by Reducing Egregious Efforts"

        Why in Hell is It Necessary, Eh? :-)

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: "Securing Participation, Engagement, and Knowledge Freedom by Reducing Egregious Efforts"

        There's always the alternative technique of naming after someone - viz Megan's Law, Brett's Law, Jonathan's Law, etc.

        Of course this is not much better. As Kevin Underhill puts it:

        All you really need to know about New York Senate Bill S6325A is that it would create a law named after a person (this one would be “Evan’s Law”), since any law named after a person is almost always a terrible idea. (See, e.g., “Caylee’s Law,” a terrible idea in 2011.)

        Here "named after a person" should be understood "named with just their first name, in a blatant attempt to evoke sympathy". It doesn't apply to, say, the Volstead Act. Remember the Volstead Act? Now that's a name for a law. Not very descriptive, but at least it's not mind-bogglingly stupid. (Also, it wasn't the official name of the act in question, just a sort of nickname used by its friends. And everyone liked the Volstead Act. It was so popular Congress managed to override Wilson's veto. Also it was public law 66-66, which should count for something. I've forgotten my point.)

  4. Robert Moore

    Southpark

    Cast your vote for either a Turd sandwich, or a Giant douche.

    I leave it up to the reader to determine which is which.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Southpark

      One more option.

      A man with some issues in the "fingers" department: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/07/donald-trump-penis-painting-ilma-gore

      I am surprised Ilma Gore is not the first person on the list. Out of all Trump lawsuit threats, the threat to sue her and any auction selling her painting is possibly the most ridiculous.

  5. Gde

    Not so fast...

    I find it distressing that anyone would think this is a good thing. I mean sure, it sounds nice, but to believe that the US congress will simply pass a law without adding a bunch of nonsense to it is being naive. The faster it needs to pass (Hurry, hurry!) the more favors are needed and we end up with something dreadful that would never stand on it's own (like Feinstein's anti-encryption idea). The SCOTUS was made to deal with these kinds of issues. Slow yes, but more likely (not guaranteed) to get it right.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Not so fast...

      The senate has effectively neutered the Supreme Court for three months now, so it's doing nothing at the moment.

      But your argument assumes cases will make it to the Court, and that is both extremely unlikely and outrageously expensive.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ad-Slingers / Info-Slurpers hate Trump...???

    ~ Maybe he's not so bad after all... Trump has risen to prominence from sheer dissatisfaction with the 'do nothing' Congress / White-House...

    ~ Look at how Obama sided with Wall Street. He slated them during his election campaign, but it was all just a ploy (See 'Inside-Job' doc from 2010...)

    ~ Whether its Wall-Street scams (2008), NSA overreach (2013) or unstoppable Silicon-Valley Info-Slurping (2016), Regulators are just a sham to hoodwink the plebs.

    ~ Meanwhile the whole game is rigged. Its no wonder people are turning to Trump, if only as a fuck-you to the political class... The overlords that do nothing once they get in except please donor corporations...

    ~ Who wants another political dynasty after two Bush's either... Blue / Red? Its all bad unless you're a tech billionaire maybe...

  7. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    You forgot Bill Maher, who Mr T sued for suggesting in a comedy bit that Trump (at the time loudly heading up the "Birther" nonsense) had an orang-utan for a father. This contention was backed up with comparison pictures.

    Personally I don't know why Trump Wants All that Trouble.

  8. Innocent-Bystander*

    Absolute Defense

    The absolute defense against a libel suit is the truth. If you tell the truth, they can't win.

    I can see this law being abused to no end for character assassination. You can fling libel at anyone and claim public record to protect against a suit... Anyone in Congress or the Senate supporting this is a grade-A moron who needs to be removed from office without delay.

    1. Clive Harris
      Unhappy

      Re: Absolute Defense

      <<The absolute defense against a libel suit is the truth. If you tell the truth, they can't win.>>

      Sadly that is not the case. If your attacker has more money than you then they will crush you with legal costs, even if you spoke the whole truth. The accurate definition of libel should be "Criticising someone who has more money than you". Poor people never get libelled, they just get lied about.

      I found this out the hard way, albeit in the UK legal system, which works a bit differently from the US system. A job agency spread lies about me to stop me getting a job. When I complained about it, they sued for libel, on the grounds that I had libelled them by calling attention to their lies.

      That was 15 years ago.The memory is still painful.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Absolute Defense

      Winning is not the aim of a SLAPP suit, as you'd know if you had even a smidgen of a clue.

      "Grade-A moron" indeed. Doctor, educate thyself.

  9. Comfy Chairs
    IT Angle

    Trump Weekly Amateur Tirade

    <list of people Trump has sued or threatened to sue>

    blah

    </list>

    I'll bet El Reg didn't independently compile that list through painstaking journalist research. But it does show that the mouthy hairpiece that is Trump isn't ready to enter the political landscape. If he was a true politician he'd never have tried to sue people in a court of law. He'd have taken a page from the Clinton playbook and paid off/intimidated into silence any allegations of corruption against him. Or made sure that any looming scandals were negated by the folk involved tragically committing suicide via 2 shots to the back of the head or dying in car/plane crashes.

  10. MacroRodent Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Doublethink

    cosponsor of the SPEAK FREE Act Farenthold – who actually supports Trump in his run for the White House – told Politico's Nancy Scola: "Obama will sign this. I don't think Trump will,"

    Help, my mind just boggled!

  11. x 7 Silver badge

    Trump vs Putin

    which would press the nuclear button first to start WWIII? Trump is daft enough to do it..........if he's elected I can see NATO collapsing because the Europeans will be more afraid of Trump than Putin.

    PS Is it true he tried to claim copyright over the name of the BBC series "Trumpton", as he claimed it was based on his home town? "Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grub & Trump" definitely has a ring to it

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge
      Unhappy

      For one, Putin wants to rule something more grandeur than nuclear wasteland...

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  12. dncnvncd

    government critics

    Now about that climate change thing and attempts to criminalize any criticism. Will this bill also protect the citizens and corporations that do not agree or worse, offer criticism and counter theories?

  13. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. albaleo

      Re: Funny

      "want to classify anything"

      If that also includes making derogatory remarks about brainless idiots like yourself, perhaps you should be thanking the "free speech haters".

  14. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Free Speech and Political Correctness

    It seems to me that it's always the ones demanding unrestrained Free Speech and damning Political Correctness when it comes to demonising and insulting others who most demand redress and apology when it offends them or they don't agree with what is being said.

    Hypocrites - and very often fascists in libertarian clothing.

    1. pixl97

      Re: Free Speech and Political Correctness

      >when it comes to demonising and insulting others who most demand redress and apology when it offends them or they don't agree with what is being said.

      Human are hypocrites, even you or me. unrestrained free speech has some downsides. You may have to sue someone in civil court. You may have to 'demand' a public apology. You may get in some very heated arguments.

      But counter to that, here in the US the congress is trying to push some very dangerous anti-free speech laws where armed police officers can come arrest you for 'insulting others' or poorly defined 'hate speech'. Put me with the armchair fascists on this one, real fascists with the law and a gun are far more dangerous.

  15. Gene Cash Silver badge

    So this would be a nationwide anti-SLAPP law? And that's a bad thing, how?

    President Trump isn't even in office yet, and he's already improving things!

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