Pelosi puts tech on notice with warning of 'new era' in regulation

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations Lawmakers 'failed us' says ICE chief Pelosi, Democratic leaders seek to quell liberal revolt over border bill MORE (D-Calif.) this week warned of a "new era" for regulating tech giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter, suggesting Democrats are ready to take a harder look at Silicon Valley.

Pelosi said during an interview on the "Recode Decode" podcast that a key legal protection for tech firms could be "in jeopardy," saying a 1996 statute was a "gift" to the industry.

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In making the remarks, Pelosi added her voice to the fray as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle consider making changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a provision that largely gives internet platforms legal immunity for content users post online.

The statute has allowed platforms to avoid legal responsibility for objectionable content posted by users, with some exceptions for copyright violations and sex trafficking.

"It is a gift to them and I don’t think that they are treating it with the respect that they should, and so I think that that could be a question mark and in jeopardy," Pelosi told "Recode Decode" host Kara Swisher.

Pelosi said it is "not out of the question" that Section 230 could be removed.

"When we come to 230, you really get their attention," Pelosi said, referring to the tech companies. "But I do think that for the privilege of 230, there has to be a bigger sense of responsibility on it. And it is not out of the question that that could be removed." 

Some GOP lawmakers, including Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz Hickenlooper, Bennet bring deep ties to 2020 debate stage 2020 Democrat Bennet releases comprehensive government reform plan GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers MORE (Texas) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyIs Big Tech biased? Hillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns Bipartisan senators to introduce bill forcing online platforms to disclose value of user data MORE (Mo.), have also threatened to alter or repeal Section 230.

Pelosi's comments come as tech companies face the threat of greater regulation in multiple countries, including the U.S., where lawmakers on Capitol Hill are trying to draw up the nation's first comprehensive federal privacy law.

"In the U.K., as you know, they’ve said the era of self-regulation ... of these companies is over," Pelosi said during the interview.

"Is it over in this country?" Swisher asked.

"It probably should be," Pelosi said. "Yeah, I mean, I think we have to subject it all to scrutiny and to cost-benefits and all that, but I do think that it’s a new era."

Pelosi also voiced support for California's new data privacy law, saying she would not back any federal privacy legislation that overrides state laws like the one in California.

"The Republicans would want preemption of state law," Pelosi said. "Well, that’s just not going to happen. We in California are not going to say, 'You pass a law that weakens what we did in California.' That won’t happen."