Letter to My Representatives on SESTA and FOSTA

I am currently retired, but for many years I was lead developer of software that now runs 30% of the web. I helped build an open source companydedicated to the open web—that employs over 600 people. I’ve been at this awhile, doing my part to champion small platforms and lawful speech along the way. I was there for the CDA black out in 1996 and the resulting Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. We blacked out WordPress.com and WordPress.org for SOPA/PIPA in 2012.

Here we are again. Lawmakers have combined the worst elements of SESTA and FOSTA into a “monster of a bill that would be a disaster for Internet intermediaries, marginalized communities, and even trafficking victims themselves.” SESTA is “a terribly drafted bill which no one can explain how it will actually stop sex trafficking.” There are “half a dozen ways #SESTA-#FOSTA could have been drafted to do less damage to small platforms and lawful speech”.

Much of this could have been avoided if anyone in Congress were actually interested in understanding how the internet worked, and how to write a bill that actually addressed problems around sex trafficking.” Congress has yet to demonstrate the curiosity or capacity to understand the internet. CDA, SOPA, PIPA, SESTA, and FOSTA is a record of bad faith and insistent ignorance.

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