Pelosi-Approved USMCA Trade Deal Enshrines Big Tech's 'Right to Censor'

Chris Menahan
Dec. 12, 2019

Big Tech is already celebrating.

From Breitbart, "Nancy Pelosi: 'I Lost'; Big Tech Legal Immunity Remains in USMCA":
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said during a press conference Tuesday that she "lost" her fight to remove a provision granting big tech companies expanded immunity in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) told Breitbart News that they still have significant reservations over the immunity's inclusion in the trade deal.

Breitbart News reported last week that Pelosi expressed concern over the USMCA inclusion of language that is even broader than Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The provision, Article 19.17, would grant greater legal immunity for big tech companies to censor, or moderate, any content compared to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
As Breitbart reported in October: "The law allows tech companies to censor any content they consider 'objectionable' or 'harmful.' This is similar to Section 230, but broader, because unlike Section 230, USMCA offers no definition of what 'objectionable' content might be, giving tech platforms broad leeway to interpret the law as they see fit."
During a press conference on Tuesday, Pelosi announced their compromise with the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer on the USMCA, admitting that the big tech provision will remain in the trade agreement.

Pelosi said that Article 19.17 would limit Congress's ability to change telecommunications law, especially when it would involve big tech companies' legal immunity over content moderation. The California Democrat said that Article 19.17 is a "real gift" to big tech companies.

Pelosi said that Article 19.17 would “hurt our own ability to make our own laws in the United States, and those countries to do so, I have one disappointment which was … Section 230, which I was too late coming in on it.”

“I lost. Here’s the thing: They had 230 in the agreement; there are some members that … it’s a real gift to big tech,” Pelosi said.
No doubt she fought tooth and nail to remove it!
[Senator Ted] Cruz said that “enshrining” big tech’s legal immunity could force lawmakers to “either abandon efforts to hold big tech companies accountable, or revise Section 230 and put the United States in breach.”

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From The Hill:
The inclusion of the protections is a major win for tech interest groups, many of which released laudatory statements Tuesday.

“In its protections on the internet and digital economy – such as forced data localization prohibitions, balanced copyright provisions and intermediary liability protections – the new NAFTA gives us a key opportunity to cement our nation’s leadership as the best place in the world to develop talent and build companies,” said Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, a trade association which represents major tech companies including Amazon, Google and Facebook.

“This landmark agreement contains the strongest digital and intellectual property chapters found in any free-trade agreement to-date, which will foster innovation for American companies across industries and will help ensure North America’s leadership for future technology R&D and manufacturing,” Cinnamon Rogers, an executive at the tech trade group the Computing Technology Industry Association, said.
Republicans won't lift a finger to secure our free speech rights online but they will ensure Big Tech's right to censor and undermine Americans' right to criticize Israel!

Trump was right when he said we had a "crooked system" -- unfortunately it appears he has been broken by it.

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