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Supreme Court On Google Ruling May Reset Internet Content Rules

 |  October 31, 2022

Tech industry players are concerned that the Supreme Court could impose new rules that upset the internet economy.

That’s according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, which looks at the court’s upcoming ruling on Section 230, a federal law that guards sites such as Facebook or YouTube against lawsuits over harmful content posted by third parties.

The case originated with a lawsuit against YouTube owner Google by the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed in the 2015 Islamic State terrorist attack in Paris. They argue that YouTube aided ISIS by recommending the group’s videos to users. Google says that Section 230 guards it against liability for content added to its site by users.

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“This is going to be the most important [Supreme Court] term ever for the internet,” Alan Rozenshtein, a Justice Department cybersecurity official turned University of Minnesota law professor, told the WSJ. “It’s not even close.”

The tech industry has already begun to try to figure out its response to an unfavorable ruling, including petitioning Congress to pass legislation to rewrite Section 230 with more obvious liability protections, said Matt Schruers, president of the trade group Computer and Communications Industry Association.

“I could foresee an outcome where the litigation and compliance risks stemming from an ill-considered decision are so great that many small firms exit the market,” which would lead to foreign-based services picking up market share, he said. “To say that another way, US competitiveness is potentially at risk here, and we have the most to lose from getting this wrong,” Schruers said.