Representative Eshoo, Please cosponsor H.R. 4027 (116th)

Dear Representative Eshoo,

I am writing to ask Representative Eshoo to cosponsor H.R. 4027 (116th), the Stop the Censorship Act, and support it in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce where the bill is waiting for a vote.

H.R. 4027 amends the existing Telecommunications Act of 1996, Section 230.

In 1996, less than 1% of the world’s population used the Internet, There were no social media companies. Today, about 65% of the world’s population uses the Internet. This 25-year-old law is due for an update.

We must address the growing censorship that blocks the free flow of information. This censorship is facilitated by the “Good Samaritan” clause, a vague clause in the law that allows the social media corporations to censor content that is, among other things “otherwise objectionable”. The clause was never intended to facilitate censorship, but was added to protect children from pornography, something it has failed to accomplish.

Given that “otherwise objectionable” cannot be defined by law, the social media giants have taken it upon themselves to regulate themselves. The Good Samaritan clause puts social media companies in control over public discourse. Indeed, “otherwise objectionable” and other such subjective descriptors fail the vagueness doctrine, outlined by our constitution. It encourages arbitrary censorship, and this is antithetical the spirit of the First Amendment of the Constitution.

HR 4027 amends the Good Samaritan clause by replacing all such subjective descriptors as “otherwise objeectionable” with “illegal”. This helps clarify what service providers may remove. If HR 4027 passes, providers may remove illegal content.

As the law stands today, individuals such as myself are blocked from information exchange, including political redress, education, and commerce. I may not contact Amazon over facebook regarding missing packages or contact you over Twitter to communicate with you in any way. I may not participate in educational discussion about biotechnology over Reddit.

I am posting this letter on my personal website, because I cannot post it on any social media sites. This should not be.

Please support HR 4027.

Thank you for your time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *