Supreme Court Hears Case Challenging Protections for Big Tech

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday in a case that could have major implications for Big Tech, Townhall reports.

The case, Gonzalez v. Google, involves whether the tech giant can be held liable for recommended content based on its algorithms on its video-sharing platform, YouTube.

The family of American Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed in a 2015 ISIS attack in Paris, brought the case against Google, alleging that the company aided ISIS by allowing violent and extremist content to exist on its platform.

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit previously ruled that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects such recommendations, at least if the provider’s algorithm treated content on its website similarly.

However, the Gonzalez family argues that recommendations are not always shielded from liability under Section 230, and that the defendant can be held liable if they can’t meet all of the criteria outlined in the act.

During the arguments, Justice Elena Kagan acknowledged the difficulty of drawing lines in the area of Big Tech protections and suggested that Congress should be the entity to make any changes to the Communications Decency Act or Section 230 if tweaks are deemed necessary.

The Supreme Court is set to hear another similar case, Twitter v. Taamneh, on Wednesday, in which the court will decide whether Twitter can be held liable for aiding and abetting international terrorism based on ISIS’s use of the platform.

The Supreme Court’s decision in these cases could have a major impact on Big Tech companies’ Section 230 protections.

Section 230 bars providers of “an interactive computer service” from being “treated as the publisher…of any information provided by” a third party.

However, there has been growing concern that the law may be too outdated to deal with the internet in the 21st century, and some lawmakers have proposed changes to the law.

The Supreme Court’s decision could potentially lead to changes in Section 230, and how it applies to tech companies in the future.