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Verified Accountability: Self-Regulation of Content Moderation as an Answer to the Special Problems of Speech Regulation

The “techlash” of the past few years represents a moment of quasi-constitutional upheaval for the internet. The way a few private companies have been “governing” large parts of the digital world has suffered a crisis of legitimacy. Calls to find mechanisms to limit the arbitrary exercise of power online have gained new urgency. This task of “digital constitutionalism” is one of the great projects of the coming decades. It is especially pressing in the context of content moderation – platforms’ practice of designing and enforcing rules for what they allow to be posted on their services.

Aegis

Who Do You Sue? State and Platform Hybrid Power Over Online Speech

This essay closely examines the effect on free-expression rights when platforms such as Facebook or YouTube silence their users’ speech. The first part describes the often messy blend of government and private power behind many content removals, and discusses how the combination undermines users’ rights to challenge state action. The second part explores the legal minefield for users—or potentially, legislators—claiming a right to speak on major platforms.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: Greg Miller on 'The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy'

Last week, Jack Goldsmith got on the phone with Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalist Greg Miller to discuss Miller’s new book, “The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy.” Miller’s book chronicles Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the interactions among members of the Trump campaign, transition, and administration, and officials and representatives of the Russian government.

Aegis Paper Series

The Important, Justifiable and Constrained Role Of Nationality In Foreign Intelligence Surveillance

This Lawfare post summarizes a longer essay we are publishing today with the Hoover Working Group on National Security, Technology and Law. Our essay addresses whether governments ever have a justified basis for treating targets of surveillance differently, in any way, based on nationality. This issue is of general importance and has become particularly important in the current legal debates about whether the U.S.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: John Mearsheimer on 'The Great Delusion'

In recent decades, both Democratic and Republican administrations have tried to guide other countries toward liberal democracy. But international relations theorist John Mearsheimer’s latest book, “The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realties,” argues that this strategy has made the U.S. a “highly militarized state fighting wars that undermine peace, harm human rights, and threaten liberal values at home.” Last week, at a book talk at the Hoover Institution’s Washington office, Jack Goldsmith sat down with Mearsheimer to discuss the book.

Aegis

Internet Platforms: Observations on Speech, Danger, and Money

Public demands for internet platforms to intervene more aggressively in online content are steadily mounting. Calls for companies like YouTube and Facebook to fight problems ranging from “fake news” to virulent misogyny to online radicalization seem to make daily headlines. British prime minister Theresa May echoed the politically prevailing sentiment in Europe when she urged platforms to “go further and faster” in removing prohibited content, including through use of automated filters.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: Amanda Tyler on ‘Habeas Corpus in Wartime’

In her new book, "Habeas Corpus in Wartime: From the Tower of London to Guantanamo Bay," Amanda Tyler presents a comprehensive account of the legal and political history of habeas corpus in wartime in the Anglo-American legal tradition. On Monday, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Tyler at the Hoover Book Soiree for a wide-ranging discussion of the history of habeas corpus, where its origins really lie in English law, and how it has changed over the years in the United States, from the Founding to modern cases of counterterrorism.

Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: Tim Maurer on 'Cyber Mercenaries'

The idea of proxy conflict dates to the Cold War and earlier, but Tim Maurer’s new book “Cyber Mercenaries: The State, Hackers, and Power” makes one of the first forays into proxy conflict in cyberspace. Last week, Maurer sat down with Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes at the Hoover Book Soiree to talk about the book. They discussed Maurer’s typology of how states like the United States, Syria, Russia and China differ in their use of cyber proxies and the challenges they pose to attribution and accountability.

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