Internet Immunity and the Freedom to Code
Communications of the ACM, Vol. 62, pages 22-24 (2019)
5 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 2019
The Internet’s freedom to code is in jeopardy. In 1996, Congress enacted 47 U.S.C. § 230, which says Internet services aren’t liable for third-party content in many cases. In practice, for over two decades, Section 230 has legally immunized coders’ decisions about how to gather, organize, and publish third party content.
Section 230 has become a political target by all sides, but reforming it will impair coding freedom. This essay explains how Section 230 came into existence, the effects it has had, and why technologists should rally behind it to preserve their ability to build the next generation of Internet services.
Keywords: free speech, section 230, 47 usc 230, communications decency act, cda, freedom, innovation
JEL Classification: k20, K4, O3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation