Senators push to keep tech liability shield out of UK trade agreement

Senators from both sides of the aisle sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative on Friday urging him to keep language that mimics a U.S. tech liability shield to be left out of any potential free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.

The letter, signed by two Democrats and two Republicans, urges Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to refrain from including language that is modeled on section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in a trade agreement with the U.K.

The senators note the ongoing debate regarding Section 230, which grants tech companies liability protection for content posted by third parties.

“Including a safe harbor clause in any future trade agreements will further allocate more power to companies at the expense of individuals,” Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote.

“Congress can and should debate about Section 230 and how it has enabled platforms to turn a blind eye as their platforms are used to facilitate discrimination, cyber-stalking, terrorism, online frauds, and more. We urge USTR to refrain from including this provision in this and future free trade agreements until that debate has concluded,” they added.

A spokesperson for the Office of the United States Trade Representative was not immediately available for comment.