The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cybersecurity agency allegedly has repeatedly engaged in censorship of so-called mis-, dis- and malinformation (MDM), but it would be banned from doing so if a new appropriations bill passes.
The Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) previously worked to censor content related to elections and the COVID-19 pandemic on social media platforms. The language in the Thursday appropriations bill granting funding to CISA would block the DHS agency from engaging in numerous censorship actions against protected speech if it passes. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde Rips Republicans For Voting To Fund ‘Censorship’ Agency)
Despite rejecting funding cuts for tip of spear of fed-led censorship in CISA, among positives in House Homeland Security appropriations bill passed yesterday was language defunding and prohibiting speech policing directly or by proxy via DHS https://t.co/1iTIhuPzxa pic.twitter.com/oqTrmbDGdH
— Benjamin Weingarten (@bhweingarten) September 29, 2023
CISA would not be allowed to use the funding to support “directly or indirectly, under color of countering mis-, dis-, or mal-information or otherwise, for instructing, influencing, directing, or recommending that private companies censor, prohibit, or obstruct lawful and constitutionally protected speech of United States persons on social media platforms,” according to the bill.
The bill calls out specific censorship methods including social media bans and suspensions, speech-related warning and strikes, “shadowbanning,” demonetization, warning labels and more. Furthermore, CISA would no longer be able to collaborate with nonprofits or other organizations to push social media censorship of protected speech.
Moreover, if any government employee whose salary is provided by this act engages in censorship, they would be fired, according to the bill.
CISA collaborated with a nonprofit called Center for Internet Security (CIS) to report 2020 election misinformation through a “portal” for social media platforms to censor, according to a CIS report obtained by independent journalist Lee Fang.
CISA also has a panel called the Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Misinformation and Disinformation Subcommittee, which gave recommendations in June 2022 on how to handle threats to “critical functions” of democracy, including elections and public health. It advised CISA to identify “informational threats” and collaborate with “non-governmental” entities to dispel mis- and disinformation.
“CISA does not and has never censored speech or facilitated censorship; any such claims are patently false,” CISA Executive Director Brandon Wales told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Every day, the men and women of CISA execute the agency’s mission of reducing risk to U.S. critical infrastructure in a way that protects Americans’ freedom of speech, civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy.”
The DHS did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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