Reads of the Week: Free Speech Threats, Drone Deliveries, and Europe’s Vaccine Problem
Each week, we feature opinion pieces from the alumni and current participants of AF’s Writing Fellows Program. A few highlights from the past week are below. Do you dream of having bylines like these? Applications are now open for the Summer 2021 cohort!
Ditching Section 230 Would Make Free Speech Worse for Wear by James Czerniawski (Summer 2020) and Trace Mitchell (Summer 2019) in RealClearPolicy
The digital fallout from the Capitol riots was considerable. We’ll likely be dealing with their effects for most of 2021. In the wake of the event, Americans of all stripes strongly condemned the events that transpired, loudly speaking out against the violence, intimidation, and property damage that occurred. The most notable fallout from the Capitol riots thus far has been social media sites suspending President Trump’s accounts on their platforms, citing concerns that his antagonistic rhetoric incited the day’s events.
Naturally, these decisions raised anew the long-debated questions about content moderation, specifically the impact of Section 230 — a law that grants liability protection to websites for third party content. While many on the right are concerned social media has gone too far in its efforts to moderate content, many on the left argue they have not gone far enough. And vocal proponents on both sides are starting to offer their “solutions,” which are mainly propositions to eliminate or modify liability protections for digital platforms…
The FAA is preparing for delivery drones in 2021. Is your state ready? by Patricia Patnode (Spring 2020) in the USA Today
The Biden administration will spend months deciding which Trump policies to modify, but Secretary of Transportation nominee Pete Buttigieg just shed light on an important one: In a confirmation hearing, he noted that some low-altitude drones aren’t necessarily a federal matter. Only a month ago, Trump’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced its eagerly anticipated new drone policies, making way for long-distance deliveries and services.
Now, companies like Walmart, Amazon, and UPS are testing drones and readying delivery operations. In a new Mercatus Center at George Mason University report, we identify several states which are already taking the initiative to quickly bring in drone jobs, revenue and new services for their residents and industries…
What does the vaccine fiasco promise for ‘European solidarity’? by Kai Weiss (Summer 2020) in the CapX
“The best advertisement for Brexit,” the major German newspaper Die Zeit proclaimed on Wednesday. In the increasingly bitter vaccine battle between AstraZeneca and the EU – which some are already describing as outright war, the European Commission has “acted slow, bureaucratic, and protectionist. And when something goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault”.
In this case, as Oni Oviri wrote on these pages yesterday, the EU has tried to blame the pharmaceutical companies themselves for its own myriad failures. In another transparent attempt at distraction, the Commission has also launched into a decidedly unsavoury spat with the UK, which had the temerity to order its own vaccines three months ahead of its European neighbours…