FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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WASHINGTON, DC – July 23, 2020 – Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) and leading Internet experts reaffirmed the critical importance of Section 230 to the growth and continued success of the app and Internet industries during a virtual summit sponsored yesterday by the App Coalition, a new technology industry coalition promoting the global app economy.
In his opening remarks, Senator Wyden explained that he wrote Section 230 because it “was needed for the little guy…[who] if they owned a website or a blog and they were going to be held personally liable for something posted on the site, they’d be essentially killed in the crib.” He underscored the continuing relevance of Section 230 to innovators and “giving voices to people that didn’t have a voice” and suggested “the [legislative] ideas currently on offer will make it harder for innovators to unseat the big guys as well.”
Senator Schatz, whose Platform Accountability and Consumer Transparency Act (“PACT Act”) will be the subject of a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing next week, noted that the bill aims to update “communications statutory architecture just in the same way that any of your companies its software and its hardware over time.” He added, “Section 230 was meant to protect free expression online by protecting platforms from liability from hosting other people’s speech and the PACT Act absolutely preserves that.”
Leading Section 230 and technology experts Eric Goldman, Daphne Keller, and Lisa Dunlap also participated in a panel discussion moderated by Karl Herchenroeder of Communications Daily. All panelists agreed the EARN IT Act, legislation largely aimed at preventing child abuse via the Internet, is fundamentally flawed.
App Coalition President Eric Silverberg noted that the organization “strongly supports ensuring that consumers have access to diverse content on their personal devices and seeks to promote robust app and Internet economies with opportunities for innovation across the digital ecosystem.” He noted that coalition members look forward to continuing to engage with lawmakers on this important subject and extended the Coalition’s appreciation to all of the participants.