Posted on December 4, 2018

USMCA Entrenches Tech Companies’ Right to Censor

Allum Bokhari, Breitbart, December 3, 2018

President Trump hailed the trade agreement he signed with Mexico and Canada last week as “great for all our countries.” Perhaps he doesn’t know that the NAFTA-replacing trade agreement, USMCA, gives tech giants in Silicon Valley a special legal privilege to censor his own supporters — and anyone else they find “objectionable.”


USMCA entrenches the tech giants’ legal protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which grant them legal immunity for user-generated content. This is an important part of the law that allows tech platforms to host a wide variety of speech with light-touch moderation.

But USMCA also entrenches tech companies’ right to censor without liability. Article 19.17 of the trade agreement gives tech companies immunity from any lawsuits arising from actions taken to “restrict material it considers to be harmful or objectionable.”


Whereas Section 230 can be amended by the U.S. congress, USMCA is a trade agreement — once ratified by all three nations (the U.S., Canada, and Mexico), it will take further agreement from the three nations to amend it. And only one of those countries has a First Amendment. Canada, with its wide-ranging hate speech laws and far-left Prime Minister, would see little reason to make it harder for tech companies to censor “objectionable” content.

That said, USMCA isn’t ratified yet. It must first be approved by both Houses of Congress. {snip}


In August, the President warned that “we will not tolerate political censorship, blacklisting, and rigged search results.”

Yet USMCA protects tech companies right to do exactly that — to bury any content they subjectively consider “objectionable” or “harmful.”

Despite attempts by Democrats and the corporate media to frame concerns about tech censorship as a “conspiracy theory,” internal research from Google leaked exclusively to Breitbart News earlier this year confirmed that tech platforms have indeed “shifted towards censorship.”


By January, Democrats will control the House of Representatives and the Senate will feature two new Republican senators, Marsha Blackburn and Josh Hawley, who are no friends of Silicon Valley tech giants. That will create a negotiating environment favorable to making broad changes to USMCA.


The stakes are high. Once the treaty is ratified, it will be exponentially harder to roll back internet censorship. Unless you want the tech giants’ right to censor to persist for another 20 years (that’s how long NAFTA lasted), now is the time to make your voice heard.