In a shocking revelation that simply re-affirmed what everyone already knew, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals again ruled that internet platforms have nothing to do with the First Amendment because they’re private corporations.
In a ruling on February 26th, the court said that, “merely hosting speech by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does not alone transform private entities into state actors subject to First Amendment constraints.”
Can’t say I didn’t see that one coming – again…
The First Amendment
The First Amendment of the US Constitution says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Right. That means that the government is not allowed to monkey with freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, or freedom of assembly and to complain that the government is all retarded.
Google, YouTube, Twitter, and all the rest of Big Data are private corporations – not arms of the government.
Were they to become public services, then that’s a horse of a different color. But they’re not.
That means that Big Data can do whatever it pleases, including censoring you and me if they don’t like what we say.
How It Actually Works
If the government can’t control you, well, how about private corporations that are effectively “individuals” – legally speaking?
Sure! That works!
While the likes of YouTube and Google are deeply embedded in our everyday lives, we have chosen to use those services.
When Google came out with Gmail eons ago and told us we’d get 1GB of free storage, guess what? There was fine print. That fine print noted that e-mail addresses and even the content of messages would be scanned by Google in order to provide said services and make things better and blah blah blah.
In other words, you got 1GB of storage space, and Gmail was free – except it wasn’t. All your data was being hoovered up, marketing info was collected, connections between people were highlighted and stored… All of that was the price we paid for that 1GB of free web mail.
Fast forward to Android. Sure, it’s great! And Google can give it away “for free” on whatever phone you buy because they’re sucking up even more data than ever – including positional, rotational, acceleration data, where you go, how you go there, what you buy, what other Google users you hang out with, and so on.
Using this “meta data” – along with standard web tracking and the fact that you’re logged in to every web site and service – it’s child’s play to make a map of literally everything you say, do, buy, think, etc… and then link that data to everyone else’s data.
In other words…
In other words, you don’t need a Big Brother government. They’re totally “holy”. Actually, these days, they’re totally BONKERS. I’ve never seen so many elderly brain-dead politicians all battling to hold on to what little power they have left.
What you need is Big Brother Private Business. They’re allowed to do all that stuff, and you and I agree to it every time we use those services. It’s all there in the legal agreements and policies that we never read.
And if they don’t like what you’re saying, too bad! You can be banned.
When the most popular platforms for sharing anything are owned by private companies, those companies can apply whatever political or social norms they deem fit. If you step out of line, well, sorry!
Try posting a YouTube video and mention Ed Snowden’s name or mentioned China a few times. BAM! Instant demonetization.
Try saying something half-way sane about all the political correctness and gender-bending going on today, and KAPOW! You’ll be demonetized, possibly deplatformed, and maybe even Twitter-shamed into losing your job, your family, and everything else.
“The government” isn’t doing doing any of that. Oh sure, agencies like the NSA have got their mitts deep inside the workings of Google – they always have. But technically, they’re not the ones being evil. Google collects the data, and then they just happen to leave it ‘sitting on the table over there’ where the Alphabet Soup agencies just happen to pick it up and browse a bit.
There’s a reason Google’s parent company is called Alphabet, Inc.
The First Amendment has nothing to do with it.
We have all actively and willingly given up what privacy and free speech rights we once had. It’s so bad that most people who don’t agree with the prevailing mainstream views cower in fear both in their homes and online, afraid to rock the boat and end up targeted by hordes of online-organized trolls.
That was always the point: If you can’t do it overtly, do it covertly. It’s all perfectly legal.
Welcome to the Glorious Digital Future!