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posted by janrinok on Sunday September 17 2023, @02:03AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

The decision, published Friday, was hailed by conservative litigation group the New Civil Liberties Alliance as a victory for free speech. But Eric Goldman, a professor, Santa Clara University School of Law, believes Biden administration foes may have scored an own-goal.

The lower court ruling [PDF], from Louisiana federal district Judge Terry A. Doughty on July 4, partially granted an injunction that broadly limited the extent to which US government agencies can deem content so potentially harmful that they urge social media sites to remove it from their services.

Judge Doughty determined that the plaintiffs – the State of Missouri, the State of Louisiana, Dr Aaron Kheriaty, Dr Martin Kulldorff, Jim Hoft, Dr Jayanta Bhattacharya, and Jill Hines – made sufficiently strong arguments that their speech was suppressed at the direction of the government that they are likely to succeed at trial.

In short: the judge partially granted their request to prohibit the government from telling social media companies how to moderate content.

The United States government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian 'Ministry of Truth'

"Although this case is still relatively young, and at this stage the court is only examining it in terms of plaintiffs' likelihood of success on the merits, the evidence produced thus far depicts an almost dystopian scenario," Judge Doughty wrote in a memorandum explaining his ruling.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterized by widespread doubt and uncertainty, the United States government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian 'Ministry of Truth.'"

[...] The Fifth Circuit, called the "most politically conservative circuit court" in the US, dialed that injunction back somewhat. The appellate ruling [PDF] affirmed part of the ruling, reversed part of it, vacated part of the injunction, modified part of the injunction.

The three-judge appeals panel said nine of the lower court's ten prohibitions were vague and overly broad at this stage of the litigation.

"Prohibitions one, two, three, four, five, and seven prohibit the officials from engaging in, essentially, any action 'for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing' content moderation," the appeals panel said. "But 'urging, encouraging, pressuring' or even 'inducing' action does not violate the Constitution unless and until such conduct crosses the line into coercion or significant encouragement."

And citing problems with prohibitions eight, nine and ten, they vacated all save for the sixth, which they modified to state that government officials or their agents can take "no actions, formal or informal, directly or indirectly, to coerce or significantly encourage social-media companies to remove, delete, suppress, or reduce, including through altering their algorithms, posted social-media content containing protected free speech."

Not all speech in the US is protected, so this injunction – in place while the case is being heard – does not apply to government communication to social media companies about: incitement to imminent unlawful action; harassment; credible threats; defamation; obscenity and child pornography; among other exceptions.

"The line between impermissible state intervention and ordinary government functions is really murky, and this opinion doesn't really try to clarify that," Santa Clara University’s Goldman told The Register in a phone interview.

"They simply decide some things are impermissible. Other things are okay. And that makes the rule from the case impossible to operationalize, for the government and possibly for the services. Nobody exactly knows what they're going to be required to do based on this ruling."

The line between impermissible state intervention and ordinary government functions is really murky, and this opinion doesn't really try to clarify that

[...] "The court said it is impermissible for the government to commandeer content moderation practices," he said. "But that's exactly what the Florida and Texas social media censorship laws did. They literally overrode the social media companies' editorial discretion via government edict.

"And thus, the Fifth Circuit, the same court, upheld those interventions, saying that was constitutionally permissible for the government to dictate content moderation operations. In other words, this opinion is in irreconcilable tension with the Fifth Circuit's earlier opinion on the social media censorship laws."

Also, Goldman observed that the Fifth Circuit seems to be saying that these social media companies risk becoming state actors by engaging with government officials.

For example, with regard to platform cooperation in limiting health misinformation, there's passage in the opinion that says, "In sum, we find that the White House officials, in conjunction with the Surgeon General's office, coerced and significantly encouraged the platforms to moderate content. As a result, the platforms’ actions 'must in law be deemed to be that of the State.'"

"That's a huge problem for the government," he continued. "If internet companies become state actors, then they cannot report information about their users to law enforcement unless they comply with all the laws on criminal procedure."

As an example, Goldman cited how the government requires internet services to provide data about child sexual abuse material. If those companies become state actors through government intervention, he said, then those reports become impermissible evidence because they haven't been done in compliance with legal rules that constrain the government.


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17 2023, @02:53AM (10 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17 2023, @02:53AM (#1324997)

    We went back and forth on the lower level of the network, and it's quasi-common carrier status. Just do it up the stack. So if FaceBook and Twitter end up full of commie nazis, they can disclaim any association with that as long as they don't moderate anything other than previously established illegal content (e.g., child porn). If the advertisers don't like that, then social media can moderate but then they have to be responsible for the content. Ultimately it tends to be the advertisers that make mass-media decisions in this country anyway. Why was your favorite show cancelled despite being critically acclaimed? Not enough eyeballs, which is what ad men care about.

    It may not be the best system, but it's not terrible either. And if you don't want shitty content on social media, you can filter it or just turn it off. You didn't have to watch every channel or read every newspaper back in the pre-Internet days, and you can filter content on the Internet too and it's not censorship.

    Why are we making this so complicated, and what business does the government have back-dooring things? They used to run PSAs to get their message out. Iron Eyes Cody would cry over the garbage heap by the side of the Information Superhighway if he were alive today, and he wasn't even a real Indian.

    • (Score: 2) by helel on Sunday September 17 2023, @04:21AM

      by helel (2949) on Sunday September 17 2023, @04:21AM (#1325007)

      Any suggestion to assign liability to a social network if they moderate will force them to become orders of magnitude more draconian in their content control than they are now. Like only approved influencers get to post publicly levels of censorship. There's simply too big a target on their back if any right wing nut job can log on and say "6MWE" in public.

      And yes, they absolutely will choose to moderate because the unmoderated mass of content will drive advertisers away faster than you can change your name to x.com.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17 2023, @04:40AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17 2023, @04:40AM (#1325008)

      Not all speech in the US is protected

      That is not what the 1st Amendment says. Please read it if you do not understand this, and find anything about which kind of speech is not protected.

      You do not apply "common carrier" rules to content providers, they are supposed to reserved for service providers, the ISP. We must demand the dumb pipe for a truly open internet, and that the government be a reliable trustworthy source of truthful information to properly combat "mis"information

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Gaaark on Sunday September 17 2023, @10:58AM (6 children)

      by Gaaark (41) on Sunday September 17 2023, @10:58AM (#1325028) Journal

      Why are we making this so complicated

      Because there are low-educated people who will believe the most unintelligent things: this is how Hitler rose to power, this is how Trump remains in power. The entire world is laughing at the Republicans and its' low-educated supporters because they either haven't the sense to see him for what he is, or are all so afraid (except for a, now, more vocal few) to speak up against the nonsense that Trump keeps spouting.

      Some people need to be protected from themselves because they haven't the sense to protect themselves.

      --
      --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday September 17 2023, @12:37PM (2 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday September 17 2023, @12:37PM (#1325038)

        Pretty much this:

        >Some people need to be protected from themselves because they haven't the sense to protect themselves.

        I would very much like an AI based consensus system wherein you feed the engine a statement like: "The COVID vaccine causes cranial sensitivity to 5G radio signals." and the engine returns with a matrix of for, against, abstain positions from the various organizations that have made any statements regarding such an idea. Results might look like:

        American Medical Association - Strongly, directly against: "There is no basis in any existing research to suggest that any such association could exist."

        Federal Communications Commission - Strongly, indirectly against: "All testing of 5G radio signals have shown them to be safe."

        Libertarian Party of Florida - Vaguely supporting: "We have our suspicions and nothing in the testing shows that either one is safe, much less both in combination."

        Office of Ron DeSantis - Evasively supporting: "There are those in our community who have concerns, and we feel those concerns should be addressed."

        with links to the various articles those statements came from, demographic characterizations of the people who tend to believe and dis-believe statements from those bodies, etc.

        Of course, political platform engineers have been building such tools for themselves for over a decade now. Unfortunately, this "presentation of all sides" approach does lead to the divisiveness seen in recent US politics, and if you get a majority of voters who trust their demagogues over science, you'll end up with the lunatics running the asylum (Jan 6 going the other way...)

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Sunday September 17 2023, @08:42PM (1 child)

          by Gaaark (41) on Sunday September 17 2023, @08:42PM (#1325082) Journal

          Probably better to NOT assign names/designates; just give facts.

          Those who can't think for themselves will just align with what, for example, Desantis spouts.

          Without a designation, they'll have to stare at facts and decide.

          --
          --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
          • (Score: 3, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Sunday September 17 2023, @10:19PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday September 17 2023, @10:19PM (#1325098)

            >better to NOT assign names/designates; just give facts

            Whose "facts"?

            My parents were science teachers starting in the early 1970s. A lot of the "facts" they were taught to teach middle and high school students have been revised, improved, and proven outright false in the past 50 years, by general consensus of the science teaching community.

            The most, perhaps only, important skill people should learn by the time they are adults is: critical thinking. Make up your own mind what is right or wrong based on the available information, and when it is important seek out additional information until you have enough to make an appropriately informed decision.

            Life is too short and resources are too limited for everyone to do all their own research, observation and experimentation, so the next most important skill is: recognizing who you should trust about what.

            Otherwise you end up supporting some form of authoritarianism, blind trust in whatever the authority says.

            https://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/2yf8qo/baffling_nazi_school_map_claiming_all_major/ [reddit.com]

            --
            🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by cykros on Monday September 18 2023, @09:06AM

        by cykros (989) on Monday September 18 2023, @09:06AM (#1325149)

        Agreed. There even seem to be people out there who actually believe that Trump has a huge base because people believe everything that he says, rather than the fact that it really doesn't take much for someone to want to vote for someone other than Hillary or Joe and be pretty darn enthusiastic about doing so, particularly when that candidate is the most anti-war president in decades, among another few, key core stances.

        Might be worth remembering that the caricatures that end up on TV cameras aren't typically statistically representative of the whole, no matter what group you're talking about.

        Beyond that, do you REALLY want the next government, or the one after that, to hold the reins you so enthusiastically are trying to grant this one?

      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday September 18 2023, @01:50PM (1 child)

        by Freeman (732) on Monday September 18 2023, @01:50PM (#1325176) Journal

        Hitler rose to power, because he was a smooth talker and said the right things. It was too late to back out by the time some people realized they were screwed. Some of his people even tried to remove him from power via assassination plots. Though, it's entirely possible that the war would have lasted longer, if they had succeeded in killing Hitler. He being a narcissistic personality and definitely drank his own koolaid.

        --
        Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
        • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Monday September 18 2023, @08:22PM

          by Gaaark (41) on Monday September 18 2023, @08:22PM (#1325212) Journal

          Yup, and Trump is doing the same: say what the followers want to hear even when it is impossible.

          "I'll make Mexico pay for the wall". Yeah. Right. That happened ... when? Trumps' supporters paid for it...dumb-asses.

          He just lies and lies and lies and they suck it up. Just like Hitler.

          Say things they want to hear and keep repeating the lie until they believe it.

          --
          --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18 2023, @01:56PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18 2023, @01:56PM (#1325180)

      It may not be the best system, but it's not terrible either.

      It sorta mirrors Real Life (tm).

      I have friends at both extremes of the spectrum. One of them absolutely trusts every word uttered by someone in government even though their daughter is a a "thalidomide baby". They think every vaccine is 100% safe and effective.

      On the flip side, I have a friend who can grab the steering wheel of any random conversation and yank the car into the "you know they're spraying us with chemicals and the new 5G roll-out is so they can remote control anyone who got the shot" ditch.

      I'm a big boy, I can filter both of those idiots out. Plus, it's pretty entertaining to watch both of them vehemently disagree with each other every year at the barbecue.

      They used to run PSAs to get their message out. Iron Eyes Cody would cry over the garbage heap by the side of the Information Superhighway if he were alive today, and he wasn't even a real Indian.

      Coffee | Nose > Keyboard.

      Thanks for the morning belly laugh.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Sunday September 17 2023, @03:00AM (15 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 17 2023, @03:00AM (#1324998) Journal

    "During the COVID-19 pandemic, a period perhaps best characterized by widespread doubt and uncertainty,

    That's putting things mildley. I'll insist that the period was characterized by fear. Plain, simple, abject fear. And, the fear theater was led primarily by progressive liberal Democrats who cherished the idea of authoritarian government controlling our lives.

    Everyone has the right to say that Dr. Fauci is full of shit, that Bill Gates and the government's researchers were involved in Hunan's bioresearch, and more. What's more, they have the right to say such things without government interference.

    And, I'll insist one more time that social media is the de facto town square today. NO ONE except "mostly peaceful protesters" goes to the town square to burn the city down. Everyone is on social media. Neither social media nor government has the right to silence a point of view. And, no, it doesn't matter that the point of view opposes an authoritarian's deepest fears. It doesn't even matter that if a point of view becomes popular, it might cost lives. None of the excuses matter.

    Bottom line, authoritarian assholes thought they could silence anyone whose opinions differed from their own.

    People should be going to prison for such blatant violations of civil rights.

    The Youngbloods certainly knew their Democrats. Just listen to the first few lines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xGxQXmu7Os [youtube.com]

    • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17 2023, @03:53AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17 2023, @03:53AM (#1325006)

      Heh. I got permabanned from Twitter for saying Fouci should have been hung drawn and quarterd. Aparently that's seen as violent speech over there.
      And this was only a couple of months ago. So much for thier free speech rhetoric.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17 2023, @06:17AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17 2023, @06:17AM (#1325010)

        It's because the proper word is hanged. They're obviously grammar nazis. /sarcasm.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Opportunist on Sunday September 17 2023, @10:27AM (8 children)

      by Opportunist (5545) on Sunday September 17 2023, @10:27AM (#1325026)

      See, that's what I love about you Americans, you'll even protect my right to lie to you and destabilize your country.

      The funniest part of that is that it's mostly done today by the people who pretend they love their country the most.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Sunday September 17 2023, @12:39PM (6 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday September 17 2023, @12:39PM (#1325040)

        >protect my right to lie to you and destabilize your country ... it's mostly done today by the people who pretend they love their country the most.

        Chaos is opportunity for change. Those who would be king (or the power behind the throne) but are not quite there yet have fomented chaos for centuries.

        It's part of the basis of the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, and all that.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Opportunist on Sunday September 17 2023, @01:07PM (5 children)

          by Opportunist (5545) on Sunday September 17 2023, @01:07PM (#1325047)

          Anyone who has experienced radical change in their life knows that this isn't exactly something to look forward to.

          Change is not always a good thing. Especially when you're already starting at a pretty high level, the chance that it's going down simply is greater than the chance of going up.

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday September 17 2023, @02:06PM (4 children)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday September 17 2023, @02:06PM (#1325054)

            > this isn't exactly something to look forward to.

            Most people hate change, particularly those who are in a good place, or at least a not intolerable place.

            The thing about happiness is: it's relative, and plenty of people "near the top" literally would rather die trying to be #1 instead of living their lives out as #2. Even more common, they'd rather thousands - even millions - of other people die for their try to be #1.

            --
            🌻🌻 [google.com]
            • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Sunday September 17 2023, @02:18PM (3 children)

              by Opportunist (5545) on Sunday September 17 2023, @02:18PM (#1325056)

              Ok, and I won't stand in their way to either #1 or death, either is fine by me, as long as I don't have to join in the conga line.

              Seriously, I'm done trying to save people from their own stupidity. It's time to chlorinate the gene pool and weed out the idiots. Of course only by their own doing, I'm not gonna waste time on offing them, they're quite capable of doing that themselves if we don't try to keep them alive unnecessarily.

              • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday September 17 2023, @03:14PM (2 children)

                by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday September 17 2023, @03:14PM (#1325064)

                Transparency is always the answer...

                All this chaos and shaking up the current world order so new marbles can shift to the top is primarily driven by lies and deceit, conflation and misdirection. Unwrapping all of that so that rational, intelligent, well educated actors can make rational choices - that's the world I'd like to drive toward. If idiots want to act idiotically, I'm all for letting them win Darwin awards, I just hate to see good people taken down by deliberately hidden information.

                There's also the problem that life is too short and people learn too slowly for the young to truly be well educated, so we have all these heuristic shortcuts of what is good and moral and all that which mostly try to drive people toward choices that are good for themselves - but like all shortcuts, they're not the whole story, and all too often people rely on them when they shouldn't and bad actors subvert them for their own goals that hurt those who they manipulate.

                --
                🌻🌻 [google.com]
                • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Opportunist on Monday September 18 2023, @07:09AM (1 child)

                  by Opportunist (5545) on Monday September 18 2023, @07:09AM (#1325131)

                  There are sometimes reasons for hiding information. Mostly because of the aforementioned bad actors, but also because people are egoistical, greedy bastards.

                  Case in point, the god-damn masks. At the beginning of the pandemic, people were told they shouldn't use them. Even though, yes, we already knew they could curtail infections. But we also knew that we don't have enough to supply the whole population. So imagine what would happened if you told people "this is how you protect yourself". Everyone would have hoovered them up. By the truckload. Think toilet paper, just even more crazy. You know, though, that hospitals are direly dependent on them, now imagine what it would have been like if suddenly hospitals stood there without masks.

                  Then finally we had them in sufficient supply. By that time we already knew that they have only a limited effect in protecting the wearer, what they really are great for is protect others if the wearer is already infected. Not being able to project their germs does indeed lower the chance of infecting someone else. If you tell people exactly this, nobody wears a mask. "Why should I protect someone else?" and "But if I'm already infected, what's the point?" would certainly have been the general sentiment and nobody would have worn them.

                  People are egoistical, greedy assholes. You have to work around this defect.

                  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday September 18 2023, @01:29PM

                    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday September 18 2023, @01:29PM (#1325172)

                    Sure, and information always takes time to spread so laws like insider trading bans make sense - unless you're Martha Stewart or a Congresscritter... they're so special they don't have to play fair, and when they get caught they still get special treatment.

                    The mask fiasco was certainly imperfect, but I also sort of applaud the semi-transparency of "well, yeah, sure, we said that, but here's why:" that came out at least through the channels I was getting my info from.

                    >People are egoistical, greedy assholes. You have to work around this defect.

                    Agreed, there's no fixing that in the people themselves.

                    --
                    🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by cykros on Monday September 18 2023, @09:41AM

        by cykros (989) on Monday September 18 2023, @09:41AM (#1325155)

        The alternative is to allow only one particularly powerful group to decide who gets to lie to us, which tends to lead to the population being more trusting as a whole. It's largely what we had through most of the 20th century, particularly toward the end, with the consolidation of media companies into one big mono-message.

        This censorship push is just that system having a tantrum. And yes, there will be growing pains, as many have become institutionalized. But there is also no reasonable alternative.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by digitalaudiorock on Sunday September 17 2023, @12:22PM (1 child)

      by digitalaudiorock (688) on Sunday September 17 2023, @12:22PM (#1325035) Journal

      That's putting things mildley. I'll insist that the period was characterized by fear. Plain, simple, abject fear. And, the fear theater was led primarily by progressive liberal Democrats who cherished the idea of authoritarian government controlling our lives.

      Right...because it's not like anyone was dying from that shit or anything. I won't even get started on the absurdity of anyone from the American right...the ones enamored with the likes of Putin and Orbán...ranting about authoritarianism. Do you ever actually hear yourself??

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18 2023, @03:05PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18 2023, @03:05PM (#1325189)

        the ones enamored with the likes of Putin

        You mean senile Uncle Joe? The one who is sending Americans to fight and die in Ukraine to prop up his corrupt crime family?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17 2023, @01:20PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17 2023, @01:20PM (#1325049)

      ...I'll insist one more time...It doesn't even matter that if a point of view becomes popular, it might cost lives...

      This is what makes you "that guy".

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Reziac on Monday September 18 2023, @04:08AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Monday September 18 2023, @04:08AM (#1325120) Homepage

      "It doesn't even matter that if a point of view becomes popular, it might cost lives."

      For instance, the opinion becoming popular that being a British subject sucked, leading to the American War for Independence.

      --
      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
  • (Score: 2) by Beryllium Sphere (r) on Sunday September 17 2023, @06:26AM (1 child)

    by Beryllium Sphere (r) (5062) on Sunday September 17 2023, @06:26AM (#1325011)

    They gave plenty of examples of government communication that a reasonable company could have taken as threatening.

    But they also said that "significant encouragement" is something the government must avoid. Even if a definition could be crafted that could be applied predictably, that doesn't strike me as a First Amendment problem. I'm sure the platforms ignore "significant encouragement" from many directions all the time.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by sigterm on Sunday September 17 2023, @09:32AM

      by sigterm (849) on Sunday September 17 2023, @09:32AM (#1325018)

      I can see why they would choose to include that. "Significant encouragement" from someone wielding the big stick of regulation and legislation is indistinguishable from blackmail. You may have noticed how prominent figures in tech and industry tends to become the focus of various investigations if they become uncooperative.

      The statement "nice company you have here, would be a shame if something were to happen to it" means nothing if if comes from a local hobo, but carries significant weight if said by a mafioso.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by RedGreen on Sunday September 17 2023, @06:34AM (4 children)

    by RedGreen (888) on Sunday September 17 2023, @06:34AM (#1325012)

    Censorship, the government has every right to protect it citizens from wanna be murdering bastards spreading information that has the possibility of killing its citizens. They should be tracking each and everyone of them down and shooting like the manege dogs they are. If not that then a nice long time in prison for each and every one of them, I prefer the shooting and pissing on them method..

    --
    "I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17 2023, @08:03AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 17 2023, @08:03AM (#1325015)

      You forgot the " /s".

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday September 17 2023, @09:46PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 17 2023, @09:46PM (#1325095) Journal
        He also forgot that he'd be a likely target for the exercise of said right.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Opportunist on Sunday September 17 2023, @10:25AM

      by Opportunist (5545) on Sunday September 17 2023, @10:25AM (#1325025)

      Quite hard to do, the main culprits are residing outside of US jurisdiction.

      I find it kinda funny that people are afraid of their own government (you know, the only one they could actually have some sort of influence on) but don't consider that other, hostile, governments may well throw misinformation at them in an attempt to destabilize their country.

      But mostly because I am not in the country that gets destabilized...

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday September 18 2023, @12:25PM

      by VLM (445) on Monday September 18 2023, @12:25PM (#1325168)

      the possibility of killing its citizens

      Can't tell if this is in support or opposition to the vax. That's kind of the point.

  • (Score: 5, Touché) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Sunday September 17 2023, @06:49AM

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Sunday September 17 2023, @06:49AM (#1325013)

    The United States government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian 'Ministry of Truth'

    One of the many Orwellian roles it has assumed since 9/11.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by sigterm on Sunday September 17 2023, @09:19AM (7 children)

    by sigterm (849) on Sunday September 17 2023, @09:19AM (#1325017)

    Period.

    Adults are fully capable of making their own choices. We already have laws and regulations against deceptive marketing and marketing products to minors, so we're all good, thank you very much.

    If government officials thinks the population needs to be informed about something, they have the entire apparatus of the state at their disposal, and a myriad of advisors and consultants ready to create any propaganda they want.

    The notion that this humongous system and the immense amount or resources it represents, is somehow helpless to counter the arguments of some guy on YouTube, is beyond preposterous. I'd say that if having an army of media advisors and the entire corporate media propagating your message isn't sufficient to convince people, there's reason to suspect that your arguments may not actually hold up to scrutiny.

    The government never used to care all that much about "misinformation," medical or otherwise, until recently when it happened to contradict the official narrative. Funny, that.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Dr Spin on Sunday September 17 2023, @11:29AM (1 child)

      by Dr Spin (5239) on Sunday September 17 2023, @11:29AM (#1325030)

      Adults are fully capable of making their own choices.

      Perhaps, if they are sane.

      It appears to the majority of us outsiders that a significant percentage of Americans are not capable of making sane comments, and therefore potentially insane.

      --
      Warning: Opening your mouth may invalidate your brain!
      • (Score: 2) by cykros on Monday September 18 2023, @09:45AM

        by cykros (989) on Monday September 18 2023, @09:45AM (#1325156)

        This is exactly how many media companies have portrayed things, yes. You think Trump's whole base actually behaves like the ones at the rallies that the camera gets focused on?

        Or, for that matter, like everyone opposed to him wears a vagina hat and buys their kids tuckable bathing suits?

        We're being fed caricatures, because it gets views, clicks, and shares.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by stormreaver on Sunday September 17 2023, @12:38PM (1 child)

      by stormreaver (5101) on Sunday September 17 2023, @12:38PM (#1325039)

      ...is somehow helpless to counter the arguments of some guy on YouTube, is beyond preposterous.

      The problem our governments have is that they have been caught lying to their respective publics for so long, that it has become foolhardy to trust them. The more they dig into a position, the more it seems like they are lying -- even if they are being 100% truthful at that moment.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sigterm on Sunday September 17 2023, @01:01PM

        by sigterm (849) on Sunday September 17 2023, @01:01PM (#1325046)

        See also: The boy who cried "wolf."

        Fortunately, regardless of the truthfulness (or lack thereof) of government spokespersons, in this day and age you can still find the facts yourself, and/or find multiple trustworthy sources.

        Personally, I'd consult a politician or a journalist only in matters where their specific expertise and competence would be relevant. Which is to say, never.

    • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Sunday September 17 2023, @01:26PM (2 children)

      by Opportunist (5545) on Sunday September 17 2023, @01:26PM (#1325050)

      Adults are fully capable of making their own choices.

      And if they didn't turn around when their bad decisions bite them in the ass and expect me to bail them out, I wouldn't have a problem with it. You decided to forgo science, now die. Perfectly ok. But no. People don't take their own stupidity lying down, no way.

      If the idiots who listened to snakeoil peddlers during Covid would just have died instead of tying up valuable ICU beds with their cadavers, you would not hear a peep from me. But sadly, they did.

      • (Score: 2) by DadaDoofy on Sunday September 17 2023, @02:03PM (1 child)

        by DadaDoofy (23827) on Sunday September 17 2023, @02:03PM (#1325053)

        So, anyone you disagree with should be censored because, it should be obvious to anyone who's not an idiot, your beliefs are the correct ones. Okaaaay. And just curious, how do you "bail out" a cadaver?

        • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Sunday September 17 2023, @02:15PM

          by Opportunist (5545) on Sunday September 17 2023, @02:15PM (#1325055)

          No, of course not. Say whatever you want, but own your stupidity. If you know better than scientists giving you advice, fix your own shit instead of then turning around and whining for science to save your sorry ass when you fucked up.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by driverless on Sunday September 17 2023, @10:05AM

    by driverless (4770) on Sunday September 17 2023, @10:05AM (#1325022)

    Is that like immanentizing the eschaton but with lawyers involved?

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Opportunist on Sunday September 17 2023, @10:23AM (10 children)

    by Opportunist (5545) on Sunday September 17 2023, @10:23AM (#1325024)

    Science is NOT like religion. Science doesn't even pretend to know everything and have all the answers. We're looking for them, but this is a process, not a product. Yes, I know, scientists have been paraded out as the know-it-alls and the fix-it-alls, but blame the media (and to some extent scientist's egos, and of course the "publish or perish" mindset of "whoever talks the most wins") for that, not science.

    Now we have people who think that science doesn't know jack shit because "duh, it flip-flops and changes its opinion every other day". Yes. We call that "learning". And it's time you do it, too. We do not know everything. Our knowledge improves as we research. And with things like Covid-19, where we threw a truckload of money behind research, new results came in daily. And yes, often results that contradicted what we thought we knew yesterday. So yes, you do get a new set of recommendations today than you got yesterday.

    Like I said, if you want eternal truths, you need to go to religion. Science doesn't have them. Science changes its position as we learn more about reality. If reality isn't important, you're wrong here.

    What we taught people is to reverse science almost like they would do with a religion. And frankly, what has science done to you that you treat it like garbage? But that's what we taught them and how people treated it. And when your god tells you one thing today and the opposite tomorrow, you get confused.

    Well, you shouldn't, religions do that all the time, but I guess people expected something better. As they should, but they expected something science cannot provide: Eternal, unchanging truths.

    Science, and its recommendations, will change as our knowledge grows. So yes, what we recommend today may be found out to be wrong tomorrow, but you can at least be sure of one thing: We will always tell you what we know and we will recommend what the current level of knowledge gives us as the best consideration. Yes, that's subject to change. We call that "learning".

    Please, at least try it yourself. You might actually like it!

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Sunday September 17 2023, @10:52AM (4 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 17 2023, @10:52AM (#1325027) Journal

      And, I'll remind you that politics isn't science. The masses aren't scienctists, and they don't give a damn how science works. Fauci and the "science minded" progressives have spent the past three years alienating much of the population from science. Everytime some idiot pops off with "the science is settled", he alienates yet more voters.

      Not only are they doing science all wrong, they're doing politics all wrong by trying to marry politics and science.

      • (Score: 2, Flamebait) by Opportunist on Sunday September 17 2023, @01:10PM (2 children)

        by Opportunist (5545) on Sunday September 17 2023, @01:10PM (#1325048)

        And who is that idiot that said "the science is settled"? Could we just put a bullet in his head and move on, maybe eventually we'll stop having people who try to make science some sort of ersatz religion and we could finally get somewhere.

        And frankly, politics making science-based decisions is probably as close as we'll ever get to politics making any good decisions. What else should we go by? Gut feelings? Or religion? Let's run the country by yesterday's bean soup and the big woo-woo?

        • (Score: 1) by Runaway1956 on Monday September 18 2023, @01:08AM (1 child)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 18 2023, @01:08AM (#1325108) Journal

          What else should we go by?

          Voting. One citizen gets one vote. That means geniuses and idiots get an equal say. Men and women get an equal say. Black and white get an equal say. Master's degrees and high school dropouts get an equal say. Ds and Rs get an equal say.

          Unfortunately, we have lobbyists and the Citizen's United ruling, both of which give rich sons of bitches more say than any of us who have failed to put billions into offshore accounts around the world.

          • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Monday September 18 2023, @06:58AM

            by Opportunist (5545) on Monday September 18 2023, @06:58AM (#1325130)

            Voting.

            So gut feeling and religion it is. Great we have this settled.

            The problem here is, reality doesn't give a fuck about your opinion or decision. Just because you don't want the river to flood your inner city doesn't mean a damn, even if you create a law that forbids the river to rise past its bed. And frankly, if I can only choose between dimwits telling smart people what to do and smart people telling dimwits what to do, I'd prefer the latter. Simply due to what the outcome is likely going to be.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by EEMac on Sunday September 17 2023, @03:04PM

        by EEMac (6423) on Sunday September 17 2023, @03:04PM (#1325062)

        Also worth noting: many of our scientists aren't even scientists. A frightening number of experimental results cannot be reproduced. [duckduckgo.com]

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by stormreaver on Sunday September 17 2023, @12:42PM (3 children)

      by stormreaver (5101) on Sunday September 17 2023, @12:42PM (#1325041)

      So yes, you do get a new set of recommendations today than you got yesterday.

      And that is exactly why governments and employers have no business issuing health mandates, and why the people must be free to make their own choices. Misinformation comes in many forms, and government-enforced misinformation is the worst kind.

      • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Sunday September 17 2023, @01:28PM (2 children)

        by Opportunist (5545) on Sunday September 17 2023, @01:28PM (#1325051)

        I make you an offer: You listen to whatever government tells you, and if it gets you sick, government deals with getting you healthy again, at their expense. If you decide you know better, you deal with whatever fallout happens, including the eventual choking to death, without turning around when the shit hits the fan and wasting government resources on keeping you alive.

        Deal?

        • (Score: 2) by stormreaver on Sunday September 17 2023, @11:35PM (1 child)

          by stormreaver (5101) on Sunday September 17 2023, @11:35PM (#1325100)

          You listen to whatever government tells you, and if it gets you sick, government deals with getting you healthy again, at their expense.

          1) The first part is possible, but ill-advised. The second part is politically and universally impossible (unless we're really Cylons, and the government has a resurrection ship floating undetected in nearby space). Funny
          how governments around the world are all too happy to tell you what to do, but completely unwilling or unable to make you whole (or even alive) when those orders hurt or kill you.

          2) I have a counterproposal: I evaluate what the government is saying, what its critics are saying, and make my own damn decisions about whether it makes sense for me and my family. That works much better for me. Anyone trying to force their medical opinions on my family and me can fuck right off, and die if necessary.

          During Covid, Ronald Reagan was vindicated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYuY85JbDFk [youtube.com] (I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help). I thought he was a shitty President, and I severely disliked him on a number of levels, but he hit the bullseye with this shot.

          • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Monday September 18 2023, @06:52AM

            by Opportunist (5545) on Monday September 18 2023, @06:52AM (#1325129)

            Ok, fair. But if your decision turns out to be bollocks, you will continue eating horse medication and die like a good little idiot instead of come crawling to me to save your hide?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18 2023, @03:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18 2023, @03:09PM (#1325190)

      Science is NOT like religion. Science doesn't even pretend to know everything and have all the answers.

      Were you in a coma for the last 4 years? Democrats were worshiping scientists who claimed the vaccine was "safe and effective" like Gods. They didn't question *anything* about "stay home, stay safe". They cheered when police in tanks rolls down American streets and pepperballed people who were just sitting on their front porch at home while they were "staying home and staying safe".

      Blind obedience like that is typically found in religions. Not that science *is* a religion, but Democrats were treating science *as* their religion.

  • (Score: 2) by digitalaudiorock on Sunday September 17 2023, @12:45PM (1 child)

    by digitalaudiorock (688) on Sunday September 17 2023, @12:45PM (#1325042) Journal

    Lawrence Tribe's take on this decision was spot on:

    A promoter of this dubious decision called it “a major and unprecedented victory.” Unprecedented here is a euphemism for “lacking any support in the text, history, or decisions construing the First Amendment.”

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday September 17 2023, @09:54PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 17 2023, @09:54PM (#1325096) Journal

      Lawrence Tribe's take on this decision was spot on:

      "Spot on" is a euphemism for "ignoring the constitutional consequences of government steering of private censorship"

  • (Score: 1) by Se5a on Sunday September 17 2023, @08:40PM (1 child)

    by Se5a (20629) on Sunday September 17 2023, @08:40PM (#1325080)

    Let's get the politics out of science.

    • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Sunday September 17 2023, @11:37PM

      by RS3 (6367) on Sunday September 17 2023, @11:37PM (#1325102)

      That would be nice, except science needs money, and politics governs who gets what.

      Also, as the world has often seen, science often discovers / invents things that could be very good, or very bad, so governments have a duty to somewhat keep an eye on science.

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