“China’s Internet censors know how to block Russian interference”

Eric Wang:

Any regulation of speech about political issues by foreigners could end up entangling U.S. citizens. Therefore, American supporters of Black Lives Matter, to name one obvious issue, may very well end up being regulated too.

Even if we could use technology, such as blocking overseas Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, to prevent only foreign nationals from influencing us, this would still limit Americans’ First Amendment rights. As the Supreme Court has held, the right to speak also involves the right to listen.

Expect to see more arguments that society must tolerate foreign interference to preserve the First Amendment. I strongly disagree and my concern is longstanding. Indeed, here’s a lead I wrote for New Republic piece in 2011:

Let’s say that the leader of a foreign country, one with military or economic interests adverse to the United States, took a look at our 2012 elections and decided to spend millions of dollars in hopes of determining which party held control over the House, the Senate, or the White House. Most of us would consider that scenario highly distressing, to say the least.


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