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A new Supreme Court case could fundamentally change the internet

Vox: “Gonzalez v. Google, an extraordinarily high-stakes tech policy case that the Supreme Court announced it will hear on Monday, emerged from a horrible act of mass murder. Nohemi Gonzalez was a 23-year-old American studying in Paris, who was killed after individuals affiliated with the terrorist group ISIS opened fire on a café where she and her friends were eating dinner. According to her family’s lawyers, she was one of 129 people killed during a November 2015 wave of violence in Paris that ISIS claimed responsibility for. In the wake of Gonzalez’s murder, her estate and several of her relatives sued an unlikely defendant: Google. Their theory is that ISIS posted “hundreds of radicalizing videos inciting violence and recruiting potential supporters” to YouTube, which is owned by Google. Significantly, the Gonzalez family’s lawyers also argue that YouTube’s algorithms promoted this content to “users whose characteristics indicated that they would be interested in ISIS videos.” The question of whether federal law permits a major tech company like Google to be sued over which content its algorithms served up to certain users divides some of the brightest minds in the federal judiciary. Although at least two federal appeals courts determined that these companies cannot be sued over their algorithms, both cases produced dissents. And it’s now up to the Supreme Court to resolve this disagreement in the Gonzalez case…”

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