Upcoming proposal and discussion on content moderation

True. I myself decide to abstain for this vote. I prefer to see Nintendo vote for their own ‘voice’.

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You bring up a good point. What if the entity like Nintendo or Disney just buy ICP to create a neuron and vote for their proposals. Could they then buy enough ICP to take down any content that infringes on their IP. Would there be a case where it is not straight forward and the foundation will need to vote against them?

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I personally am voting no on this (at least at this time). If we are going to delete canisters, we first need to come up with a formal set of rules that (1) outline what cannot be on the Internet Computer, and (2) describe what the appropriate process is to get content removed. To do that, we need to have an extremely robust discussion where we outline the pros and cons of allowing token holders to determine what can and cannot be deleted. If we move too quickly–which I think we are–we may experience some negative consequences that we didn’t anticipate.

Separately, the ability for nodes to be pressured like this is a serious attack vector. Governments could potentially attack applications they don’t like by threating node operators within their jurisdiction. If that happens, we will either have to start watching nodes leave right and left, or we will have to bow to the wishes of the government(s) and remove the canisters. To the extent possible, it might make sense to obfuscate the identities of node providers to remove this attack vector (or at least diminish it).

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I voted no half an hour ago because I didn’t know when the vote was going to close. Current distribution is 5.2 million adopt against 6,200 to reject. Not sure who the 5.2M is, I haven’t seen them talking about their stance anywhere.

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I generally agree with this. There’s little point in building a censorship resistant network if there’s nothing on it that isn’t worth censoring. Large multinationals, like, maybe, Google, or, a Chinese Communist Party property company, buying big neurons and colluding to vote themselves immunity from criticism is a valid concern.

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I’m not terribly concerned about the use of the terns Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) or Takedown Policy (TP). I understand and agree with the concepts, but to me the application of these terms still requires community definition and the implementation has the same result no matter what we call it.

I also think it is appropriate for Dfinity to abstain from voting. That ensures this decision is made in a decentralized governance way. This is also a good reason why the pending motion proposal referenced here (Changes to governance proposals and voting reward weights (Proposal)) is so important. The ICA of the DFINITY Foundation should not be the arbiters of governance proposals like this one.

I will vote no on this proposal because we need more governance tooling to address this type of issue and this particular cannister isn’t really causing any harm. I’m actually curious if the cannister owner would take it down voluntarily now that this issue is know in the community. I would like to see this proposal come up again in the future after there is more time for deliberation and there are more capabilities built into the NNS to more appropriately address this type of issue.

@alexa.smith thanks for starting this discussion. You did a great job of explaining the issue, what is needed from the community, and what DF plans to make available to assist with these decisions in the future.

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I don’t think the goal of a censorship-resistant platform should be to defend against legitimate and legal claims of copyright infringement. Nintendo owns the intellectual property to the game and has not authorized this use. They are fully within their rights as far as I know, in the US.

Open source in the US is built on top of a robust legal framework that assures intellectual property rights. This must be respected, or our way of life and cooperation begins to break down.

Would we be okay with others taking our open source code and ripping out or otherwise ignoring the licenses? If not this is a double standard which is not morally or logically consistent.

Web3 shouldn’t be about anarchy and pushing whatever we want onto the internet without consequences. The rule of law is important, especially since not all law can be codified as digital code and executed by machines.

Censorship-resistance I would say is much more about protection against arbitrary interference with legitimate activities. Of course we as a community need to decide what arbitrary and legitimate mean.

Protecting the legal and legitimate copyrights of an entity is not the kind of censorship we should be concerned with.

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The point, in all it’s seriousness, has to do with whose law? Certain countries outlaw blasphemy. And in some of those countries, blasphemous speech is strictly punished.

The question is can we even draw a line in a global context?

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Yes of course, important point. As a United States citizen who sees no issue with Nintendo’s claim (though I wish they would allow this usage, it’s not up to me to force their hand nor infringe) I will personally vote to shut the canister down.

As we move to come to a consensus as a community on what we will and will not allow, I’m sure we’ll all weigh in on what we believe is right. What is legal may have a lot to do with that.

But of course in our direct liquid democracy, it’s currently mob rule.

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It should be, because it goes to the core of the problems that Twitter and Facebook faced last year. Are they publishers, or platforms? Does their content moderation make them responsible for what they host? If you take responsibility for removal of material for violating ToS pre-emptive of court demands, you are then responsible for things that a jurisdiction believes you should have controlled. You lose the right to the defence of common carrier. Given that you will have hybrid applications that will use, for example, IPFS for data storage but deliver that via canister, that is going to be a large moderation burden.

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Also, I think we should start considering how difficult it should be to pass some of these proposals. I don’t think the simple direct liquid democracy is appropriate for every proposal.

How hard should it be for us to shut down this canister? I’m kind of thinking it should take an extraordinary amount of voting power to do this, like 2/3 or more.

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Hmm…hypothetically speaking, what would the court do in this case? Who would they order to do what?

Most of the nodes are in countries that are members of World Intellectual Property Organization. If we do not act as responsible citizens, it will accelerate/stimulate the imposition of regulatory countermeasures that are unhelpful. Placing this burden on node operators is unfair. While playing Mario may be fun, it is not something for which I would sacrifice the reputation of the IC.

Regarding a takedown policy, it should include:
• terrorist content;
• content that incites violence;
• hate speech;
• non-consensual sharing of intimate images; and
• child sexual exploitation content;
• cyber security issue;
• copyright infringement
• money laundering
• other criminal activity

The difficulty with “other criminal activity” is the differences in law from one nation to another. For example, being critical of one’s government varies based on jurisdiction and can range from being considered treason to just being an engaged citizen. Even more complex is content censorship.

Depending on the nature of the complaint and the jurisdiction, the representations to take down could be mild or severe, legal or illegal including intimidation, coercion, state sanction execution and even military action.

Implementing the SNS will help take the load off of the NNS. I suggest that once the SNS gets rolling, the NNS or node operator should be able to send a message to the Dapp’s SNS informing that there is an issue (if the NNS has been advised) of the following types:

• Operational issue
• Security Issue
• Compliance Issue

The SNS can vote and reply or ignore.

If it is sufficiently grave issue or in the absence of a SNS based DAO, the NNS may take unilateral action based on community votes (e.g. to suspend the canister) which has always been the case. However, with an SNS in place, the NNS would inform the SNS that the Dapp has been suspended.
It is fairly easy to vote and take down a single canister. Self-regeneration mechanisms will surely be deployed and will make this more difficult as time goes on. Think of the game Whack-a-Mole. Also, if rotating workloads between nodes is implemented, the node operators may not have to be involved in the issue.

I wrote before on this subject in August:

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I suppose another option, which I believe someone else has mentioned, is to just wait and see if the canister creator will remove the canister.

I didn’t consider the potential legal consequences of our actions now. If we act in certain ways we might transform ourselves into forever arbiters under the laws of certain jurisdictions.

After all, this is the fault of the creator of the canister, it would be great if that person could take responsibility.

Taking this to the extreme, what happens when that person doesn’t respond and this goes to court?

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I generally agree. But this raises serious issues. First, who determines what is considered a “legitimate” claim of intellectual property infringement? Even though this case seems to be open and shut, IP disputes are often messy. Moreover, a malicious actor could completely lie and say that something on the Internet Computer violates their intellectual property. Are we going to rely on voters to do independent research to determine whether something actually is a violation of intellectual property? Are we going to require both sides to submit their arguments on why something is or is not a violation?

Second, how does this scale? As the Internet Computer gets larger and larger, how is it going to be humanly possible for voters to determine what is a valid claim of infringement and what isn’t? Indeed, we might get hundreds of takedown requests a day. Nobody can go through all of them.

Third, can this be gamed? If people aren’t paying attention to these votes because they don’t have the requisite information to determine what actually constitutes infringement, they will either (1) abstain, or (2) vote at random. In theory, they can just rely on the neurons they follow to vote for them. But it’s not clear to me that ICDevs, Cycle DAO, etc. will have the ability to accurately make judgment calls on the infringement either–let alone the time. If a large enough number of people abstain from voting, voting could be captured by a handful of malicious actors. For example, Google or Facebook could stake ICP tokens and vote to remove all canisters that try to compete with them–on the theory that the competitors are violating their IP.

These are serious issues.

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Actually I’m reconsidering this based on the comments. Though I think this specific request by Nintendo is legitimate, I’m not sure who should ultimately be responsible for the takedown and when. A simple reactive response to a DMCA request may not be appropriate.

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Interesting fact, to reach the 3% simple majority threshold with a single vote, an 8-year neuron would currently need staked ICP equivalent to about $150M USD.

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What if we find the creator and ask him/her to take down the canister? Shouldn’t that be the first step?

Yeah kind of terrifying

If we take the position that a court order would be sufficent to act, not all courts in all nations make judgements based on the same principles, values and laws. “Being considered a carrier” - is US centric. Do we know where this node operator is situated? In some jurisdictions, failure to act can result in penalties. Also, what jurisdiction’s law applies to the IC? There is no caselaw yet is there?