A top legal advisor to President Joe Biden argued that the Chinese Communist Party’s approach to internet censorship was “largely correct,” insisting that the U.S. “government must play a large role” in the “monitoring and speech control” on Big Tech platforms.
Harvard Law School Professor Jack Goldsmith, tapped for the president’s exploratory commission on reforming the U.S. Supreme Court, argued in an August 2020 Atlantic op-ed that “in the debate over freedom versus control of the global network, China was largely correct, and the U.S. was wrong.”
Throughout the piece, Goldsmith calls for the U.S. government to play a more active role with internet and social media censorship, appearing to invoke the Chinese Communist Party as a model:
The public internet in its first two decades seemed good for open societies and bad for closed ones. But this conventional wisdom turned out to be mostly backwards. China and other authoritarian states became adept at reverse engineering internet architecture to enhance official control over digital networks in their countries and thus over their populations.
“Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values,” Goldsmith, an alum of the George W. Bush administration, asserts.
Goldsmith also praises big tech’s handling of COVID-19 – which includes the covert installation of tracking programs and censorship of stories promoting the now widely-accepted link between the virus and the Wuhan Institute of Virology – as demonstrating an “enormous public good”:
The response to COVID-19 builds on all these trends, and shows how technical wizardry, data centralization, and private-public collaboration can do enormous public good. As Google and Apple effectively turn most phones in the world into contact-tracing tools, they have the ability to accomplish something that no government by itself could: nearly perfect location tracking of most the world’s population. That is why governments in the United States and around the world are working to take advantage of the tool the two companies are offering.