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[ NNSquad ] [IP] EFF: Internet Archive Sues to Stop New Washington State Law

----- Forwarded message from Dave Farber <dave@farber.net> -----

Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2012 14:08:43 -0400
From: Dave Farber <dave@farber.net>
Subject: [IP] EFF: Internet Archive Sues to Stop New Washington State Law
Reply-To: dave@farber.net
To: ip <ip@listbox.com>

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: EFF Press <press@eff.org>
Date: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Subject: [E-B] EFF: Internet Archive Sues to Stop New Washington State Law
To: presslist@eff.org

Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release

For Immediate Release: Friday, June 15, 2012


Matt Zimmerman
 Senior Staff Attorney
 Electronic Frontier Foundation
 +1 415 436-9333 x127

Internet Archive Sues to Stop New Washington State Law

Statute Puts Online Libraries and Other Service Providers
at Risk

Seattle - The Internet Archive has filed a federal
challenge to a new Washington State law that intends to
make online service providers criminally liable for
providing access to third parties' offensive materials.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is representing
the Internet Archive in order to block the enforcement of
SB 6251, a law aimed at combatting advertisements for
underage sex workers but with vague and overbroad language
that is squarely in conflict with federal law.
Procedurally, the Internet Archive lawsuit was filed as an
intervention into a similar suit, Backpage.com v. McKenna,
filed last week.

"The Internet Archive, as an online library, archives the
World Wide Web and other digital materials for researchers,
historians, and the general public," said Brewster Kahle,
Digital Librarian and founder of the Internet Archive.  "We
strongly support law enforcement efforts to combat child
sex trafficking, but this new law could endanger libraries
and other entities that bring access to websites and
user-generated content."

SB 6251 was passed with the hope of criminalizing the
dissemination of underage sex trafficking ads and imposing
a requirement to confirm the ages of individuals in such
ads prior to publication.  The law, however, is fraught
with problems.  As written, the vaguely-worded statute 
making it a felony to "directly or indirectly" provide
access to any material that might constitute an "explicit
or implicit" commercial offer for sex  could be read to
apply not only to posters but to neutral entities that
provide access to online information, including ISPs,
Internet cafes, and libraries.  This would result in a
chilling effect as such entities begin feeling pressured to
censor protected online speech in order to safely stay on
the right side of the unclear law.

Washington's new statute also squarely conflicts with
established federal law  Section 230 of the Communications
Decency Act  that was passed with the dual aims of
protecting Internet intermediaries from liability for most
of what their users do and establishing a clear, national
Internet policy to avoid the development of a confusing
patchwork of state laws.  If allowed to stand, SB 6251
would undermine this important Congressional policy
decision that directly fosters free speech, innovation, and
the dissemination of knowledge online.  It would also set a
dangerous precedent allowing individual states to regulate
the Internet as each sees fit, establishing a
speech-chilling "race to the bottom" with service providers
restricting speech according to the most invasive state law
on the books.  Indeed, in the wake of SB 6251's passage,
Tennessee passed a similar bill set to go into effect in
July, and New York and New Jersey are considering their own
proposed legislation.

"Laws passed with the laudable goal of combatting such a
pernicious practice as child sex trafficking can
nonetheless inflict collateral damage on the First
Amendment," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman.
"Legislatures must do more than simply identify serious
social ills but also prescribe solutions that are
consistent with other important values.  Clear legal
protections for hosts and disseminators of third party
content are bedrock legal principles that allow free speech
to flourish online.  While well intentioned, laws like SB
6251 simply take the wrong, dangerous approach."

For the full motion to intervene:

For the full complaint from the Internet Archive:

For this release:

About EFF

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading
organization protecting civil liberties in the digital
world. Founded in 1990, we defend free speech online, fight
illegal surveillance, promote the rights of digital
innovators, and work to ensure that the rights and freedoms
we enjoy are enhanced, rather than eroded, as our use of
technology grows. EFF is a member-supported organization.
Find out more at https://www.eff.org.


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----- End forwarded message -----

Lauren Weinstein (lauren@vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren 
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org 
 - Data Wisdom Explorers League: http://www.dwel.org
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org 
 - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance: http://www.gctip.org
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com 
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Google+: http://vortex.com/g+lauren / Twitter: http://vortex.com/t-lauren 
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com
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