Pelosi pushing to remove legal protections for online content from USMCA

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is pushing to remove sweeping legal protections for online content from the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), according to a Wall Street Journal report Wednesday.

The move would be a blow for tech companies that advocated for these protections so that they could expand to Mexico and Canada as part of the trade agreement.

According to the report, some lawmakers have expressed concerns about the legal protections, saying they are worried that including the immunity language would forbid Congress from addressing federal online protections in the future.

“There are concerns in the House about enshrining the increasingly controversial Section 230 liability shield in our trade agreements, particularly at a time when Congress is considering whether changes need to be made in U.S. law,” Henry Connelly, a spokesman for Pelosi, told The Hill in a statement.

The Trump administration’s effort to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement with the USMCA has run into a number of other obstacles as Mexico is objecting to allowing labor inspections of its factories under the deal, according to the Journal.

Democratic House leaders have maintained that negotiations on the agreement are almost finished, but other lawmakers have expressed doubt that the deal would get finished by the end of the year, according to the Journal.

The Hill has reached out to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for comment, which also did not respond to the Journal.

The Internet Association, a lobbying group for internet companies, has backed the extension of legal protections, citing that it could promote the growth of small and large tech companies.

“Failing to include intermediary liability protections – which have been a part of U.S. law for two decades — in USMCA would negatively impact the countless small businesses and entrepreneurs that use online platforms to export and advertise their businesses,” Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman said in a statement to The Hill.

— This report was updated at 8:33 a.m.

Tags Canada internet companies Mexico Nafta Nancy Pelosi online content Trade deal USMCA

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