ACLU slams government working with Big Tech to decide ‘what’s right or wrong’
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) returned to its roots on Monday, condemning the government for working with Big Tech to censor certain topics and calling it a betrayal of constitutional rights.
« The First Amendment prohibits the government from deciding for us what is right or wrong, online or elsewhere. Our government cannot use private pressure to circumvent our constitutional rights, » the ACLU tweeted from its official account.
Along with the tweet, the ACLU links to an explosive report by The Intercept, which broke the news on how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was working with tech companies to restrict speech on a variety of major political topics by policing « disinformation ». «
The Intercept reports, « According to a draft copy of the DHS Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, the DHS summary report outlining the department’s strategy and priorities for the coming years, the department plans to target « information inaccurate « on a wide range of topics, including » the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.' »
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The report also notes that « ahead of the 2020 election, technology companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Discord, Wikipedia, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Verizon Media met monthly with the FBI, CISA and other government officials. government ».
Combating government influence over the private sector’s determination to censor misinformation is the ACLU’s traditional remit, but the organization has come under fire in recent years for failing to live up to its ideal as a nonpartisan advocate. of American civil rights, especially freedom of speech.
Former ACLU leader Ira Glasser condemned the state of the organization during a January episode of « Real Time » with Bill Maher. Glasser lamented: « It is now a requirement for national employers in the ACLU, that before taking on a case defending someone’s free speech, they must make sure the speech does not offend or threaten other civil liberties values. »
He explained that in contrast, in the organization’s loftiest days, « In fact, most of the speeches we stood for didn’t reflect our values, » Glasser noted. « That’s the point. »
In 2021, the organization championed vaccination mandates to make society safer for « the most vulnerable », suggesting that enforcing the mandates is a way to « advance » civil liberties.
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They have also been active in virtue signaling on abortion and transgender issues.
But now that the organization has criticized the government’s censorship of free speech, as The Intercept pointed out, many Twitter users were thrilled that the organization was once again championing civil liberties.
« Their account appears to have been hacked by itself, » radio host Derek Hunter tweeted.
Columnist Eddie Zipperer wrote, « I had no idea there was anyone in the ACLU who still cared about constitutional rights. »
DeSantis Campaign Rapid Response Director Christina Pushaw commented, « Pleasantly surprised to see this. »
« Thank you @ACLU – glad to see you standing up for genuine civil liberties violations rather than partisan politics, » tweeted commentator Curtis Gardner.
The controversial role of DHS in the American policy dialogue has become a major issue over the past year.
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In the spring, the Biden administration launched the Disinformation Governance Council, which many commentators have likened to George Orwell’s « Ministry of Truth. »
Part of what destroyed the Council’s reputation in the public eye was that its director, Nina Jankowicz, had herself peddled biased information, such as casting doubt on the Hunter Biden laptop revelations and the theory. leaks from the Wuhan lab.
Fox News’ Kelly Laco contributed to this report.