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[ NNSquad ] Re: Cato / Public Citizen: Tim Wu is wrong claiming searchengines aren't protected by the First Amendment (Lauren Weinstein)

I have a simple question, if Cato and Public Citizen claim that
algorithms written by humans are protected by the first amendment
because they are authored by humans ...

If the algorithm discriminates against the conversations of (say)
black people, is it protected speech, or a violation of civil rights?

The argument by Cato/Public Citizen presumes that the search results
are spoken by the Google company. Yet Google claims that it is not
prosecutable for libel under the laws of the UK?  Yet Google claims a
purely human *authorship*.

This argument by Cato/Public Citizen includes a significant element of
sophistry - a rhetorical equating of human voluntary speech to an
automatic process making a decision to synthesize a result in a
simplistic scenario - yet in contrast Tim Wu discusses the precedent
setting nature of giving automatic processes programmed by humans a
*First Amendment* right!

Sophistry is meant to confuse and conflate.  I don't know why Cato and
Public Citizen want to confuse and conflate - perhaps merely to retain
alignment with power?

   [ David, there are a number of aspects to the issues you've invoked.
     The UK view of libel, which unlike the US system does not permit
     a defense of truth, is one factor.  Also, it appears to me that
     ultimately you are conflating to some degree the issues of search
     results per se vs. the contents those results refer to.

     But a more basic question is why you (apparently) don't feel that
     search results should have the same level of first amendment
     protection as, say, newspapers, magazines, and other media, which
     have traditionally had such protection, and also express opinions,
     make "best of" recommendations, and so on.

     If your concern is specifically the use of automated algorithms,
     I would suggest it is misplaced.  The algorithms are merely the
     embodiment of the values and opinions of their human creators,
     and I see no reason why those opinions -- as exercised through
     algorithms -- should not have the same level of protections as
     any other opinions.

     The alternative, to suggest that opinions as expressed through
     algorithms should not be subject to first amendment protections,
     would seem onerous indeed.

     -- Lauren Weinstein
        NNSquad Moderator ]
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