As tech companies regulate speech, will they lose their safe harbor?

Source: Silicon Valley escalates its war on white supremacy despite free speech concerns – The Washington Post

Tech companies have long argued they are not responsible for the content posted by others on their platforms. Under this view, a tech company is not responsible if someone posts threats to kill others or instructions for building a bomb or details on how to hack into government computers.

Companies have stood behind this principle, especially in regards to users posting defamatory content to online forums. They have argued that they are not responsible for the content and that it would be impossible for them to police the content of their forums.

Now however, the tech companies, including social media companies, are arguing that they can and do police all speech on their platforms. This implies that they do, in fact, control and have responsibility for the speech on their platform. These actions are likely to emerge in future anti-defamation suits filed against online tech firms and they could find themselves liable for all types of infringing speech conducted on their platforms.

Tech companies can certainly condemn offensive speech[1]. But censoring offensive speech puts tech companies into a area that may have legal ramifications.

Related from St. Louis Dispatch:

“A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society.” — Justice Anthony Kennedy

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Coldstreams.com is migrating to WordPress.com

I will be migrating this blog from self hosting on my virtual server to using WordPress.com. I have already done most of the set up on WordPress and you can see the preliminary web site at https://coldstreams.wordpress.com

I plan to set up a server “redirect” so if you access coldstreams.com you will automatically load the coldstreams.wordpress.com web page.

I could set this up so that coldstreams.com points directly to the new URL, however, that method redirects all coldstreams.com pages to the wordpress site and that is not what I want to do. Some of the other pages need to say in place on the coldstreams.com web site.

The switch over will be mostly transparent except that

  1. The new blog will look slightly (but only slightly) different
  2. If you subscribe to this blog by email, you will need to re-subscribe on the new web page
  3. If you read this web site using an RSS newsreader / newsfeed, you will want to use the RSS link on the new web site. (I might be able to force a redirect on that – I will check).

Why This Change?

I have run my own web sites and blogs since 1995, the dawn of the World Wide Web on the Internet. Today , the time commitment needed to maintain several web sites and blogs – with frequent software updates and upgrades, anti-malware support, spam checking and having to debug problems that occur – is a bit much. I decided it is no longer a good use of my time to host these web sites myself. By switching to WordPress.com, the web site stays much the same, runs on their massive Internet server infrastructure, and is fully secured with https and faster access using http/2.

Did Newsweek really find Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto?

Newsweek has posted a cover story by Leah McGrath Goodman, claiming to have located the inventor of Bitcoin, publishing a photo of his house and his car license plate.

Goodman ties together weak correlations with one almost fact – saying the individual said “I no longer have any connection” when she allegedly asked him about Bitcoin. But the individual said he was misunderstood, saying his answer was in reference to no longer being involved in engineering, where he had made his career. She fingers Nakamoto because he’s an engineer, knows math, he’s really smart, he might have been out of work during the time bitcoin.pdf was designed, and the original bitcoin.pdf document references saving “disk space” and she says, only old engineers care about disk space.

There are other developments including that a long dormant Bitcoin account used by the inventor (here) came back to life to say Dorian is not the inventor of Bitcoin: BREAKING: Dorian Nakamoto Is NOT Satoshi Nakamoto—Source: Satoshi Nakamoto « Null Byte.

The accused has written many Amazon reviews and filed public comments with local government – and his writing is nothing like the writing of the person who invented Bitcoin. (See for yourself.)

Another person say’s Nick Szabo is probably the inventor of BitcoinOr the inventor may be the Dread Pirate Roberts. The evidence is at least as strong for those conclusions too.

And the reporter forgot her ethics thinking cap.

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Disclosure: I have a BS in computer science, an MS in software engineering and an MBA.  I have computer and mathematics skills and have taken graduate courses in cryptography.  I took graduate finance and economics courses in MBA school.  I have a son whose first and middle name are the same as the lead programmer on Bitcoin today (and my son is also an engineer).  I have suspicious hobbies like having a ham radio license, a pilot’s certificate, a hovercraft, and I shoot 3D video. I tinker with electronics.  And I still care about disk space.  I often put two spaces after periods.  I am older than most software developers today.  I often use TOR, pay cash, turn off my cellphone to avoid being tracked and am concerned about our surveillance society.  That’s Newsweek’s evidence trail.  Obviously – OMG, I might be the creator of Bitcoin too!

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