New America: Who's Afraid of Online Speech?

Characteristically awesome event at the New America Foundation today. I spoke on “How Can Platforms Fix Online Speech?”, which: not simple. Co-panelists were:

  • Caroline Sinders, @carolinesinders Product Analyst, Wikimedia Foundation

  • Whitney Phillips, @wphillips49 Assistant Professor of Literary Studies and Writing, Mercer University Author, This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things Co-author, The Ambivalent Internet

  • Dipayan Ghosh, @ghoshd7 Public Interest Technology fellow, New America Joan Shorenstein Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School Former Technology & Economic Policy Advisor, The White House Former Privacy & Public Policy Advisor, Facebook

  • Moderator: April Glaser, @aprilaser Staff writer, Slate

Our part starts around 1’10'“. Other speakers at the event:


  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), @amyklobuchar Chair, Senate Democratic Steering Committee Ranking Member, Rules Committee

  • Dan Gillmor, @dangillmor Director and co-founder, News Co/Lab at Arizona State University Professor of Practice, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University Author, Mediactive and We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People

  • Moderator: Cecilia Kang, @ceciliakang National Technology Correspondent, The New York Times


  • Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D-Calif.), @reptedlieu Member, House Committees on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs

  • Jennifer Daskal, @jendaskal Associate Professor of Law, Washington College of Law at American University

  • Kate Klonick, @klonick Future Tense fellow, New America PhD Candidate, Yale Law School Resident fellow, Information Society Project at Yale Law School

  • Moderator: Cecilia Kang, @ceciliakang National Technology Correspondent, The New York Times

Stanford Law: Law, Borders, and Speech Conference - Big Picture Panel

Really fun conference, excellent and diverse participants, provocative policy brawls. Hosted by Stanford Law’s Center for Internet & Society.

The panel set-up: “Which countries’ laws and values will govern Internet users’ online behavior, including their free expression rights? In 1996, David G. Post and David R. Johnson wrote that “The rise of the global computer network is destroying the link between geographical location and: (1) the power of local governments to assert control over online behavior; (2) the effects of online behavior on individuals or things; (3) the legitimacy of the efforts of a local sovereign to enforce rules applicable to global phenomena; and (4) the ability of physical location to give notice of which sets of rules apply.” They proposed that national law must be reconciled with self-regulatory processes emerging from the network itself. Twenty years on, what have we learned? How are we reconciling differences in national laws governing speech, and how should we be reconciling them? What are the responsibilities of Internet speakers and platforms when faced with diverging rules about what online content is legal? And do users have relevant legal rights when their speech, or the information they are seeking, is legal in their own country?”


  • Bertrand de la Chapelle - Co-Founder and Director, Internet & Jurisdiction Project

  • David Johnson - CEO,; Producer,

  • David Post - Professor of Law (ret.), Temple University Law School; Contributor, Volokh Conspiracy

  • Paul Sieminski - General Counsel, Automattic

  • Nicole Wong - Ex-Obama White House, Twitter, Google

  • Me

Should the U.S. Adopt the "Right to be Forgotten" Online?

I took part in a really fun Intelligence Squared debate for public radio last night. The resolution was "The U.S. Should Adopt The 'Right To Be Forgotten' Online." My partner was Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain. We opposed the resolution, arguing that the EU's newly-minted "right to be forgotten" is a pernicious form of censorship that buries truth, is prone to abuse, and cannot justly be administered. On the other side were Eric Posner, professor of law at the University of Chicago, and Paul Nemitz, director of fundamental rights and citizenship at the European Commission's Directorate General for Justice & Consumers.

Who won? I'm not too classy to report that Jonathan and I (or, more accurately, the arguments we advanced) won the debate overwhelmingly, as judged by the audience. Go free speech!

Video of the debate is here.  Audio is here.

On NPR: What Anti-Islam Film Says About Free Speech And The 'Hecklers Veto'

So I made an appearance on NPR's Morning Edition today, talking about YouTube, Egypt, free speech, divergent national and religious sensitivities, and the danger of the heckler's veto. (BTW, I can now report that NRP's Steve Henn either is or works with a Miracle Editor capable of snipping longwinded sentences into a semblance of pithiness).

Stanford Law: From Public Squares to Platforms: Free Speech in the Networked World

The set-up: “From local issues like the BART protests to national and international movements like Occupy and the Arab Spring, individuals and organizations are increasingly utilizing the Internet, social networking, and mobile devices to communicate and connect. This diverse panel from academia, public interest, and private practice, will discuss the opportunities and challenges for free speech as it increasingly moves from the town square to the networked world. Co-sponsored by the California State Bar Cyberspace Committee and the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.”


  • Dorothy Chou Senior Policy Analyst, Google Dorothy Chou is a Senior Policy Analyst and leads Google's policy efforts to increase Transparency. She manages the day-to-day operations of the Central Public Policy team at Google's headquarters, and handles government relations for Google's Crisis Response/Disaster Relief projects as well as the Data Liberation Front. Dorothy began working for Google in the Washington, D.C. office four years ago, managing issues around China, free expression and child safety before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area last summer. Dorothy holds a B.S. in International Politics from Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service.

  • Linda Lye Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California Linda Lye joined the ACLU-NC as a staff attorney in 2010 after serving 5 years on its Board of Directors and 7 years on its Legal Committee. She was formerly a partner at Altshuler Berzon, a San Francisco law firm specializing in labor and employment law, as well as constitutional, civil rights, and environmental law. Early in her legal career, she clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court. Prior to law school, she was a policy analyst for the fiscal committees of the Assembly in the California Legislature, and also worked as a death penalty investigator at the California Appellate Project. She has an undergraduate degree from Yale University and a JD from Boalt Hall, at the University of California at Berkeley.

  • Philip Hammer Of Counsel, Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel Philip Hammer is Of Counsel to the law firm of Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel in San Jose, California. Mr. Hammer successfully litigated the right to circulate petitions in privately owned shopping centers in the California Supreme Court (1979) and the United States Supreme Court: Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74 (1980).

  • Laurence Pulgram Partner and Chair of Commercial and Copyright Litigation Group, Fenwick and West LLP Lawrence Pulgram is a Partner in the Litigation and Intellectual Property Groups of Fenwick & West LLP, counsel in intellectual property and complex commercial disputes. His practice emphasizes technology related litigation and frequently involves novel legal issues generated by cutting-edge information technologies.

  • Moderator: Nicole Ozer Co-Chair- California State Bar Cyberspace Committee, Technology and Civil Liberties Policy Director, ACLU of Northern California Nicole A. Ozer is the Technology and Civil Liberties Policy Director at the ACLU of Northern California. She works on the intersection of new technology, privacy, and free speech and spearheads the organization’s online privacy campaign, Demand Your dotRights ( Nicole is the co- chair of the California State Bar Cyberspace Committee and a founding board member of the Bay Area Legal Chapter of the American Constitution Society (ACS).