Issues that could impact U.S. national security in 2023 were discussed recently in episode 256 of National Security Law Today, a podcast sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security.
“I'll start with one that’s kind of more on the private sector side but has a potentially big impact on national security,” said Mary DeRosa, advisory committee chair and Georgetown law professor who served in the Obama administration. “The Supreme Court has just taken up and will be hearing arguments on two … related cases on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, Gonzalez v. Google and Twitter v. Taamneh.”
Section 230 grants immunity to tech companies like Google and Twitter, saying they cannot be held liable for the words and actions put on their platforms by other writers. It also grants them immunity from liability for efforts to moderate the content on their platforms for harmful and other objectionable activities, like “aiding and abetting“ terrorism when algorithms direct users to other websites.
“Depending on the way the Supreme Court comes out on these cases, it could have a massive impact on the business model of some of these internet platforms and could lead to legislative action,” she said.
Another potential national security challenge relates to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, commonly known as FISA, which sunsets on Dec. 31, 2023, said Bill Banks, committee chair and director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University.
Section 702 allows for the collection of digital information from internet service providers and fiber optic cables without going through a process of targeting individuals. “I think most people (in national intelligence) agree … that we really need the capability to conduct this kind of electronic surveillance.”
Also discussed were a range of other issues that could potentially affect national security, including immigration law, states’ rights, executive power, intellectual property and foreign influence. Listen to the full podcast by clicking here.