Texas Senate Bill 12, a proposed law aimed at limiting the power of Big Tech companies to censor users in the Lone Star State, has won praise from Prof. Adam Candeub, who was former President Donald Trump’s point man on tech censorship.
The bill, introduced by State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Tyler), declares big tech companies “akin to common carriers.” It also includes a straightforward ban on viewpoint-based censorship by online platforms.
Senate Bill 12, which has won the support of Gov. Greg Abbott (R), takes into account the modern practice of social media companies using both the online and offline speech of users as grounds for account termination. It bans censorship on the basis of viewpoints expressed both on-platform and off-platform, and censorship based on the expression of another person’s viewpoint.
Under the bill, users will also be able to obtain injunctive relief against the tech giants, overturning bans and other acts of censorship deemed to be in violation of the act.
The comparison of tech companies to common carriers, a category of business that is by law required to provide service to all comers on fair, non-discriminatory grounds, puts the proposed Texas law on a stronger legal footing than Florida’s.
It follows the recommendations of U.S. supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, who recently suggested that common carrier or public accommodation laws could be used to rein in the tech giants.
In comments to Breitbart News, law professor and communications law expert Adam Candeub, who was referenced by Justice Thomas in the aforementioned opinion, praised Texas for its tech law.
Candeub was a senior official in both the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce under President Trump, and was responsible for drafting proposed rulemaking changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, to curtail tech censorship (Trump left office before the proposals could be implemented).
“The Texas law, by invoking common carriage authority and directly addressing censorship, is a real step forward. This is a direction that other states should follow,” Candeub told Breitbart News.
Candeub went on to say that the law, and others like it, could be strengthened by allowing wronged users to claim damages from the tech giants in addition to injunctive relief.
“As these laws develop, they could be even better, if they added strong protections in the form of damages through private cause of action,” said Candeub.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.