In Defense of Online Anonymity

2019 was a year of Jeff Kosseff publishing These Twenty-Six Words That Created the InternetThis is the “biography” that contains the complete text of Section 230. Section 230 is a section of the 1996 Communications Decency Act and grants wide immunity to internet service providers and websites from lawsuits based on user generated content. Section 230 allows for the participative nature of the web. This includes YouTube videos, Yelp reviews and basically every aspect of Twitter.This is why Reason can’t be sued for libelous or defamatory content posted in our comments section (though the authors of such comments can be).

Kosseff now teaches cybersecurity law in the United States Naval Academy. Anonymous in the United States: The First Amendment and Online Speech. The author’s new book examines the controversy and history surrounding activism and anonymous speech.

Kosseff was a journalist before becoming a professor of law. The OregonianHe was also a finalist in the Pulitzer Prize, and won the George Polk Award. Nick Gillespie speaks with him about his views on anonymous speech, how it is becoming harder to keep, the reasons Democrats and Republicans are still worried over Section 230 and his interests in protecting freedoms of expression and assembly.

Interview by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Adam Czarnecki.

Photo Credits: Rafael Henrique/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom; Rafael Henrique/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom; Andre M. Chang/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom; Dreamstime/TNS/Newscom