What does government have to do with video games? Censorship and the First Amendment may come to mind, but that’s only a small piece of the puzzle. The American video game industry is worth $30 billion, and everything from tax reform to NSA surveillance can have a huge impact on this growing sector of the economy. Why should gamers care about net neutrality and broadband deployment? Are there policy solutions to the dreaded “lag” problem? How do free trade and intellectual property fit in the mix? Evan discusses all this and more with Mike Gallagher, President and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade group representing U.S. computer and video game publishers.
Recently, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). The bill is gaining co-sponsors and support on both sides of the aisle, and virtually everyone agrees that sex trafficking is a very real problem that Congress needs to address. But the bill is also getting pushback from voices across the spectrum, including right- and left-leaning civil society groups and tech companies big and small.
Supporters of SESTA argue that long-standing intermediary liability protections for web platforms are enabling sex trafficking, citing the website Backpage.com, whose founders knowingly profited from and facilitated sex crimes. Critics of SESTA caution that the safe harbor in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is a bedrock of Internet freedom, and warn that the bill would actually undermine cooperation between law enforcement and tech companies. Evan discusses with TechFreedom’s Berin Szoka and Ashkhen Kazaryan. For more, see our coalition letter.
Sex offenders are often banned from playgrounds and schoolyards, but what about social networks? Should policymakers treat the virtual world the same as the real world? North Carolina passed a law in 2008 banning sex offenders from accessing websites where information is exchanged and minors can participate, including social media platforms like Facebook. Recently, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the North Carolina law violates free speech, meaning sex offenders can use Facebook as long as they’re not using it to commit crimes. What does this case mean for digital free speech? How should policymakers proceed from here? Evan is joined by Katie Glenn, Policy Counsel at the 1st Amendment Partnership. For more, check out their website.