Debating CDA 230

March 6, 2009

An exchange between Berkman faculty co-director John Palfrey and Adam Thierer (Progress & Freedom Foundation, Technology Liberation Front) concerning tweaking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was published today in Ars Technica:

When the Communications Decency Act (CDA) was enshrined into law with the passage of the historic Telecommunications Act of 1996, it contained a number of controversial provisions that covered "obscene or indecent" online content. But at the behest of ISPs and others concerned about the potentially stifling effects of possible obscenity suits on the still-young network, the CDA also included 47 U.S.C. Sec. 230, commonly known as Section 230, which shielded “interactive computer service providers” from liability for information posted or published by users of their systems.

CONTINUED...

This dialogue has been in the works for some time. Adam pressed John on remarks about CDA 230 in Born Digital during the Q&A of John and Urs Gasser's Cambridge book talk. More recently, John briefly outlined his views on CDA 230 at the end of a Berkman luncheon discussion of the final report of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force (Adam served on the Task Force, which John chaired). (Even more recently, on a different set of questions, Adam interviewed John about Born Digital on the Technology Liberation Front podcast.)

We hope that you will read John and Adam's discussion, and take a moment to weigh in -- fittingly -- in the comments.

Last updated

September 23, 2010