This article explains how the US Congress wants to censor the internet and prosecute those who don't toe the line.
In a nutshell:
The new US SESTA/FOSTA acts remove protection of website owners for the content that users add to the website, when it comes to specific content. It also seems to make webmasters liable for the ads that ad networks display on their sites. These bills silence online speech by forcing Internet platforms to censor their users.Microsoft and Google already amended their policies and hosting providers are stopping service to some websites.
SESTA/FOSTA take aim at website with sexual content which may relate to promotion OR facilitating of prostitution, sex trafficking, fraud, coercion. The bills are obviously written without careful consideration and have been rushed through congress. It seems to me that they may have severe unintended consequences.
The penalties for breaching the law are up to 10 or 25 years in jail, so this is pretty serious and needs to be considered.
While the general jest of the bills sound reasonable, it does make me wonder how far the reach of these bills could be. Some considerations:
- If the ad network you use puts erotic ads on your site, would you be liable to prosecution?
- The law is retroactive. How do you know if none of the posts on your site has flown under the radar and breaches such law?
- If you allow erotic avatars, then is this a risk factor?
- Are jokes about prostitution 'promotion of prostitution?
- What other potential issues could there be?
Microsoft have already implemented similar measure on XBox and Skype, which you can read about here: