On December 3, the Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) hosted its inaugural Digital Inclusion Summit, a virtual event where experts, activists, public servants, and influencers discussed issues surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion in tech and telecom.
One of those discussions, titled "Free Speech VS Hate Speech: A Conversation About Civil Rights, Digital Privacy and the Future of Sec 230," featured LGBT Tech's Deputy Director and General Counsel Carlos Gutierrez as a panelist. Mr. Gutierrez spoke to Section 230's importance to the LGBTQ+ community as it protects free speech online.
"A lot of racial minorities and a lot of other minorities have a safe space to go home to, and they can talk to their families about discrimination," Mr. Gutierrez explained. "But the LGBTQ+ community can actually be discriminated as badly or worse in their own home as they can be outside of their home."
Section 230 has allowed LGBTQ+ people to build community online without fear of repression while empowering individuals and groups to block anti-LGBTQ+ content.
"What Section 230 allowed [LGBTQ+] websites to do was to be able to engage in a system where they can set up conversations about LGBTQ+ issues without fear of being discriminated against - being sued for defamation - and also with the ability to block content on their sites that was hateful."
Section 230 has come under fire heavy in recent months, with President Trump and elected officials calling for its removal from the 1996 Communications Decency Act. For Mr. Gutierrez and LGBT Tech, revoking Section 230 could severely impact the ways LGBTQ+ people connect online.
"My fear is that as we talk about Section 230, and as we talk about viewpoint restrictions - who controls the viewpoint and who controls the restrictions?"
LGBT Tech is grateful to HTTP for including us in their inaugural Digital Inclusion Summit and the incredible conversations it has already helped foster. We hope the dialogues this year's Summit has kick-started will contribute to a more equitable, inclusive future in tech and telecom.
Watch the full conversation here.