The Washington Foreign Law Society
Reforming Online Accountability: Can Lessons Be Learned From Across The Globe?
Wednesday, July 14th, 2021
from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM ET
– This event is jointly organized with the Stimson Center –
RSVP here: https://stimsoncenter.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_o79zYu7JTBOInDIBODgvtQ
The increasingly tangible impact that the dissemination of online content may have on the offline world is leading to renewed calls for more stringent rules for online platforms. At the same time, legislators must tread a fine line between ensuring a healthy digital environment with clear obligations for online intermediaries like Twitter and Facebook on the one hand, and safeguarding freedom of expression on the other.
Governments are considering different normative solutions. In the European Union (EU), the latest proposal to impose tighter rules on online platforms is the Digital Services Act (DSA), which differentiates obligations based on the intermediaries’ size, role and impact in the online space. In Brazil, by contrast, two separate initiatives are taking shape: a legislative proposal aimed at establishing accountability and due process obligations for content moderation, and a Presidential initiative to restrict content moderation activities. India and others similarly grapple with these issues as well.
As legislators in the United States consider how, or even whether, to update US platform liability rules (namely, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act), can examples from across the globe help inform domestic debate? Join the Washington Foreign Law Society and the Stimson Center in this fourth in a series of discussions dissecting cyber issues as they relate to current and potential legal accountability: Cyber Accountability – Who did it? Is it wrong? Can they be stopped?
– Mariana Valente, Director of InternetLab, Sao Paulo, Brazil
– Peter Fatelnig, Minister-Counsellor for Digital Economy Policy, Delegation of the European Union to the United States
Bruce McConnell, Stimson Center Board of Directors, will open the discussion. The program will be moderated by Michael Teodori, Board Member and Chair of Programs of the Washington Foreign Law Society.
Mariana Valente is the director of InternetLab, a think tank based in São Paulo, Brazil, working for seven years in developing the empirical foundation for informing internet policies. InternetLab’s team has been working with issues such as freedom of expression, disinformation, inequalities in the digital environment, access to information and knowledge, privacy, surveillance and data protection, and on several occasions has influenced national legislation and legal interpretation in the country. The organization contributes to several regional and international networks of organizations such as Al Sur (in Latin America), Network of Internet & Society Centers (NoC), Just Net Coalition, and the Privacy International Network. Mariana is also a professor at Insper University, where she teachers Internet Policy for business administration and economics students and coordinates a Certification in Law and Technology at the Executive Education, and is the author of several books and papers on issues such as freedom of expression, data practices and policies and access to knowledge. Mariana is a lawyer by training and holds a Ph.D. in Sociology of Law from the University of São Paulo Law School, and was a visiting researcher at the U.C. Berkeley during her Ph.D. studies. She is also a member of TikTok Safety and Advisory Council since earlier this year.
Peter Fatelnig is Minister-Counsellor for Digital Economy Policy at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States and resides in Washington DC since 2018. Since his arrival, digital economy policy became a top-priority in the EU-US relations. He – with a small team – covers all aspects of the broader conversation of digital tech in society and economy. A senior manager at the European Commission since 1998 he is committed to a positive European vision of a society and economy driven by technology. Prior to the EU he worked on international assignments for the strategy consulting firm American Management Systems, and for the European Space Agency, in the Netherlands. Peter holds a Master’s degree in Communication Engineering from the University of Technology in Graz, Austria, and is a senior member of the IEEE. He is married and has raised two daughters.
The EU Delegation was first established in Washington, DC in 1954 and now represents the European Union across the United States. It has expanded to host staff of the European Parliament Liaison Office, EUROPOL, the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Air Safety Agency.
Bruce McConnell is a Distinguished Fellow with the Stimson Center, and has served on the Stimson Board of Directors since 2021. He has been a leading player on global cyberspace peace and security issues at the intersection of governments, business and civil society for over thirty years. He is the President and CEO of the EastWest Institute. He is currently leading the migration of the institute’s programs, which focus on reducing and mitigating security conflict among nations, to new homes in other nonprofit organizations including the Stimson Center. Prior to becoming President, McConnell led EWI’s Global Cooperation in Cyberspace program, working with governments and companies to increase the safety, security and stability of life in cyberspace. He co-led the secretariat of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace. In January 2016, he opened EWI’s San Francisco center, reflecting the institute’s increasing emphasis on addressing security risks from emerging technology and on the Asia-Pacific region.
From 2009 to 2013, McConnell served at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he was Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity. He served on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team. From 2000-2008, he created, built and sold two consultancies that provided strategic advice to clients in technology, business and government markets. In 1999-2000, McConnell led the International Y2K Cooperation Center, which was sponsored by the United Nations and the World Bank. He served at the White House Office of Management and Budget from 1986-99, where he was Chief of Information Policy and Technology in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
McConnell holds a Master of Public Administration from the Evans School for Public Policy at the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Sciences from Stanford University. He serves as a distinguished fellow at Observer Research Foundation America and as a member of the advisory committee of the Fuxi Institution (China). He is a business advisor to several technology companies.
Michael Teodori is a Board Member and Chair of Programs of the Washington Foreign Law Society. He is a US Policy and Advocacy Specialist at Eni SpA, one of Italy’s industrial national champions and largest energy companies. Prior to joining Eni, Michael was a Congressional Liaison Officer at the US politics and Congressional affairs office of the Italian Embassy in Washington DC, where he focused on US-Italy relations and Congressional affairs, and a Schuman trainee at the European Parliament Liaison Office, where he worked on transatlantic digital policies. He holds a degree in Law from the University of Pavia (Italy) and an M.A. in Transatlantic Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the College of Europe (Bruges, Belgium).
Below is a list of references that speakers will mention during the session:
On European Union law:
1) The EU Code of Practice on disinformation is the first time worldwide that industry has agreed, on a voluntary basis, to self-regulatory standards to fight disinformation. It sets a wide range of commitments, from transparency in political advertising to the closure of fake accounts and demonetization of purveyors of disinformation. More: https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/code-practice-disinformation
2) The proposed Digital Services Act is proportionate, fosters innovation, growth and competitiveness, and facilitate the scaling up of smaller platforms, SMEs and start-ups. The responsibilities of users, platforms, and public authorities are rebalanced according to European values, placing citizens at the centre.
The rules better protect consumers and their fundamental rights online, establish a powerful transparency and a clear accountability framework for online platforms and foster innovation, growth and competitiveness within the single market. More: https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/europe-fit-digital-age/digital-services-act-ensuring-safe-and-accountable-online-environment_en
3) Strategic communications to reduce the space and possibilities for disinformation and interference activities, strengthen resilience of society, empower civil society action and safeguard the space for policy making. More: https://euvsdisinfo.eu/
On US law:
1) CRS Report – Section 230: An Overview (April 7, 2021)
2) CRS Report – Social Media: Misinformation and Content Moderation Issues for Congress (January 27, 2021)
On Brazilian Law: