Over 15 years ago, prescient lawmakers in Congress hammered out what seemed like a minor addendum to the massive Telecommunications Act of 1996, which at the time was the largest update to the nation’s communications laws in over 70 years. The relatively minor amendment, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (HR 1555), was designed to limit liability of fledgling Internet providers for the content of their users and also give them a safe harbor to manage behavior on the nascent Web. While relatively little of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 remains relevant today, Section 230 has catalyzed an unparalleled era in Internet innovation and commerce and has served as a fundamental part of the architecture of the Internet.

The law was drafted at the dawn of the World Wide Web, long before companies such as Google or Facebook existed. Yet today many in Washington and at the very companies that were the beneficiaries of this prescient law fail to grasp the massive impact that Section 230 has had on the Internet and on U.S. competitiveness.

Our panel celebrated this important statute and its impact on the Internet as we know it.

Celebrating 15 Years Of The Legislation That Saved the Internet: Section 230

Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Location: U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, Room SVC 203-02

Speakers included:

  • The Honorable Ron Wyden (Original Co-Sponsor of Section 230)
  • Jerry Berman, Chairman – Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee; Founder – Center for Democracy and Technology 
  • Tod Cohen, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Global Government Relations – eBay Inc. 
  • Daniel J. Weitzner, Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Internet Policy – The White House 

This widely attended educational briefing is hosted by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee (ICAC), part of a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Congressional staff and members of the press welcome. The ICAC is a private sector organization comprised of public interest groups, trade associations, non-profits, and corporations. More information on the ICAC is available at www.netcaucus.org.