Gonzalez v. Google LLC: i2Coalition files amici brief with U.S. Supreme Court
On January 18, 2023, the i2Coalition, joined by our members cPanel, LLC, Identity Digital Inc., Texas.net, Inc. and Tucows Inc., filed an amici brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzalez v. Google LLC, pointing out Section 230’s foundational role in allowing the Internet’s infrastructure to function efficiently and effectively without the threat of crippling litigation.
Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 is one of the pillars of intermediary liability law, which protects a large variety of both providers and users of “interactive computer services” from being held liable for “information provided by another information content provider” –i.e., third party content–as defined in the statute. The question presented for the Court to consider in Gonzalez asks whether Section 230 shields “interactive computer service” providers when they make so-called “targeted recommendations” of third party content.
The i2Coalition’s brief demonstrated that Section 230’s express words provide no basis for excluding the automated operation of algorithms–instructions to computer systems–from Section 230 liability protection. We explained that a myriad of companies throughout the Internet ecosystem, including those providing its technological infrastructure, depend upon algorithms to classify, organize, process, and transmit all sorts of data, and that these functions do not alter Section 230(c)(1)’s protection of those companies. Finally, we pointed out that any reconsideration of the policy direction of this law is the proper role only of Congress, not the Court.
Numerous amici curiae briefs in support of Section 230 were filed in January with the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzalez by a wide range of concerned stakeholders—from companies, entrepreneurs, and advocacy organizations to academics and computer scientists. Collectively, these briefs urged the Court to uphold Section 230(c)(1) liability protection as courts have uniformly applied it for the past 25 years. The filings included the submission to the Court of an amici brief from the original co-authors of the statute, former U.S. House Representative Christopher Cox; and U.S. Senator Ron Wyden.
The i2Coalition will keenly follow further proceedings in the Gonzalez case, including the oral argument before the Court set for Tuesday, February 21, 2023. You can read the i2Coalition amici brief in the U.S. Supreme Court docket HERE.
For more in-depth updates on Internet policy, including issues that impact your internet infrastructure organization, please contact us about joining the i2Coalition.