A chance for the court to deal with Section 230 in a lawsuit against Google related to ISIS recruitment videos

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petitions of the week

This week we’re highlighting various petitions that include asking the Supreme Court to consider whether federal laws protect internet platforms when their algorithms target users and recommend content, in a case alleging Google has prevented the recruitment of ISIS supported by YouTube videos.

In a 2020 statement regarding the rejection of certiorari in Malwarebytes Inc. v Enigma Software Group USA, LLC, Judge Clarence Thomas wrote that “in an appropriate case, we should examine whether the text of this increasingly important law is consistent with the current state of internet platform immunity”. Thomas referred to Section 203(c)(1) of the Communications Decency Act which states: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of information provided by another information content provider.” Congress passed the law in 1996 after a New York court held an ISP liable for a defamatory statement posted on the site’s message board. “And in the 24 years since,” wrote Thomas Malwarebytes, the judges “never interpreted this provision. But many courts have interpreted the law broadly to give broad immunity to some of the world’s largest corporations.”

The petition in Gonzalez v Google LLC tries to present himself as the case Thomas was looking for. Reynaldo Gonzalez sued Google under the Anti-Terrorism Act over the death of his daughter during an ISIS attack on a Parisian bistro in November 2015. Gonzalez alleges that Google aided and assisted in recruiting ISIS through YouTube videos. Gonzalez recognizes that Section 230 protects Google for posting ISIS videos on YouTube and focuses his petition on the claim that Google “recommended ISIS videos to users”. Through its algorithms, Gonzalez said, Google presented ISIS videos and targeted those users whose characteristics indicated they might be interested in such content.

The district court dismissed Gonzalez’s lawsuit, arguing that Section 230 still protects Google for its recommendations because ISIS produced the videos, not Google. The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed and concluded that Section 230 protects such recommendations, at least when the provider’s algorithm treats content on its site similarly. However, the panel is in there gonzales felt compelled to reach this result as there was a recent case on the same subject decided by another Ninth Circuit panel gonzales stood at. That gonzales The Panel further concluded that Section 230 would not protect a provider’s content recommendations if it could resolve the issue itself.

Gonzalez admits that to face this question, circles are not divided. Instead, Gonzalez suggests that if his case had simply gotten out before the 9th Circuit Court’s other decision, Google would be the one seeking a review. Irrespective of this, the financial dependence of providers on advertising and thus on algorithms that can address users in a targeted manner makes this recommendation question clear.

These and others petitions of the week are below:

Lund vs Datzman
21-1179
output: If she Heck against Humphrey 42 U.S.C. § 1983’s prohibition of action, which “would necessarily imply invalidation of an unresolved conviction,” is categorically inapplicable where a convicted person asserts a claim for damages for an improper search or seizure, but not for the conviction using fruits of the violation of the Constitution, whether the factual records indicate a specific exclusion rule exception or benign fallacy theory that could potentially maintain the validity of the conviction despite the violation.

Northern Lights vs United States
21-1319
output: Whether district courts can use their discretion to weigh the evidence, including the credibility of witnesses, when deciding to admit a new trial under the Federal Code of Criminal Procedure 33, or whether they must rely on the jury’s view of the evidence, unless , the evidence is patently implausible , defies physical realities, or is similarly flawed.

Sensenich v PHH Mortgage Corporation
21-1322
problems: (1) Whether appellate courts can uphold a bankruptcy sanction order on an alternative correct ground even if the order does not analyze the ground; (2) whether sanctions based on inherent judicial power always require a determination of bad faith; and (3) whether Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 3002.1 allows for punitive fines as a form of “equitable remedy.”

US ex rel. Schutte vs. SuperValu Inc.
21-1326
disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, PC, whose lawyers contribute to the SCOTUSblog in various capacities, is among the petitioners’ lawyers in this case.
output: Whether and when a defendant’s contemporary subjective understanding or beliefs about the legality of their conduct are relevant to whether they “knowingly” violated the False Claims Act.

Gonzalez v Google LLC
21-1333
output: Whether Section 203(c)(1) of the Communications Decency Act immunizes interactive computer services when making targeted recommendations of information provided by another information content provider, or limits the liability of interactive computer services only when using traditional editorial Perform functions (such as deciding whether to display or withdraw that information).

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