Aug 1, 2017

Tech firms fight anti-trafficking bill

Backpage.com executives and the sites ex-owners are sworn in before a Senate hearing. (Cliff Owen / AP)

Tech giants are fighting a new anti-sex trafficking bill in the Senate they say would expose major online platforms and other web businesses to dangerous legal liability.

At issue: The bill would weaken a legal provision — Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — that shields platforms from liability for any content posted to their platforms by users. The bill would get rid of "federal liability protections for websites that assist, support, or facilitate a violation of federal sex trafficking laws" and empower victims to pursue websites legally, according to bill sponsor Sen. Rob Portman's office.

Why it matters: Tech cares a lot about Section 230 and will fight any attempts to water it down. Without it, their ability to host user-generated content could crumble, along with the accompanying advertising revenue.

What tech says: Companies argued that Section 230's protections built the foundation for the success of major platform companies, like Facebook and Airbnb. The Internet Association, which represents both companies, said the bill "would create a new wave of frivolous and unpredictable actions against legitimate companies rather than addressing underlying criminal behavior" and "jeopardizes bedrock principles of a free and open internet, with serious economic and speech implications well beyond its intended scope."

Other pushback: The bill has some big-name co-sponsors, which could give it momentum. But they'll face opposition from at least some of their colleagues. ""I would be very opposed to something like this that also has done so much to encourage innovation and created literally hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth in the private economy," Sen. Ron Wyden, who helped write Section 230, told Axios as he headed into a weekly lunch meeting.

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Joe Biden places second in Nevada caucuses, ahead of Pete Buttigieg

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden a Nevada Caucus watch party in Las Vegas on Saturday. Photo: Ronda Churchill/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden secured second place in the Nevada Democratic caucuses with former Southbend Mayor Pete Buttigieg third, according to NBC News projections Sunday.

By the numbers: With almost 88% of precincts reporting, Biden has 20.9% of the Nevada votes and Buttigieg has 13.6%.

Flashback: Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucuses

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Sanders reveals free childcare plan for preschoolers

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday a new plan to guarantee free child care and pre-kindergarten to all American children from infancy to age four.

Details: In the wide-ranging interview, Sanders told Anderson Cooper he planned to pay for universal childcare with a wealth tax. "It's taxes on billionaires," he said.

Exclusive: Trump's "Deep State" hit list

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: WPA Pool/Getty Pool, Drew Angerer/Getty Staff

The Trump White House and its allies, over the past 18 months, assembled detailed lists of disloyal government officials to oust — and trusted pro-Trump people to replace them — according to more than a dozen sources familiar with the effort who spoke to Axios.

Driving the news: By the time President Trump instructed his 29-year-old former body man and new head of presidential personnel to rid his government of anti-Trump officials, he'd gathered reams of material to support his suspicions.