Corresponsabilità delle piattaforme per la stragi terroistiche ? Dice di no la Corte Suprema

Corte Suprema USA n. 21-1496 del 18 maggio 2023. nega responsabilità di Twitter et alios, alla luce della disposizione per cui c’è responsabilità quando: <<In an action under subsection (a) for an injury arising from an act of international terrorism committed, planned, or authorized by an organization that had been designated as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189), as of the date on which such act of international terrorism was committed, planned, or authorized, liability may be asserted as to any person who aids and abets, by knowingly providing substantial assistance, or who conspires with the person who committed such an act of international terrorism.>> (18 US code § 2333 (d) (2))

E poi:

Plaintiffs, however, allege that for several years the companies have knowingly allowed ISIS and its supporters to use their platforms and “recommendation” algorithms as tools for recruiting, fundraising, and spreading propaganda; plaintiffs further allege that these companieshave, in the process, profited from the advertisements placed on ISIS’ tweets, posts, and videos (dal Sillabo): ma il profitto nulla ha a che fare con la causalità.

Il vero problema è se le piattaforme sapevano dell’imminente attacco dedotto, non di generiche e possibili illiceità future dell’ISIS.

La SC risponde di no: <<It thus is not enough for a defendant to have given substantial assistance to a transcendent enterprise. A defendant must have aided and abetted (by knowingly providing substantial assistance) another person in the commission of the actionable wrong—here, an act of international terrorism>> (dal sillabo).

Affermazione ovvia.

<<But plaintiffs’ allegations do not show that defendants gave such knowing and substantial assistance to ISIS that they culpably participated in the Reinaattack.
Plaintiffs allege that defendants aided and abetted ISIS in the following ways: First, they provided social-media platforms, which are generally available to the internet-using public; ISIS was able to upload content to those platforms and connect with third parties on them.Second, defendants’ recommendation algorithms matched ISIS-related content to users most likely to be interested in that content. And, third, defendants knew that ISIS was uploading this content but tookinsufficient steps to ensure that its content was removed. Plaintiffs do not allege that ISIS or Masharipov used defendants’ platforms to plan or coordinate the Reina attack. Nor do plaintiffs allege that defendants gave ISIS any special treatment or words of encouragement. Nor is there reason to think that defendants carefully screened any contentbefore allowing users to upload it onto their platforms.
None of plaintiffs’ allegations suggest that defendants culpably “associate[d themselves] with” the Reina attack, “participate[d] in it assomething that [they] wishe[d] to bring about,” or sought “by [their] action to make it succeed.” Nye & Nissen, 336 U. S., at 619 (internal quotation marks omitted). Defendants’ mere creation of their media platforms is no more culpable than the creation of email, cell phones, or the internet generally. And defendants’ recommendation algorithms are merely part of the infrastructure through which all the content on their platforms is filtered. Moreover, the algorithms have been presented as agnostic as to the nature of the content. At bottom, the allegations here rest less on affirmative misconduct and more on passive nonfeasance. To impose aiding-and-abetting liability for passivenonfeasance, plaintiffs must make a strong showing of assistance and scienter. Plaintiffs fail to do so.
First, the relationship between defendants and the Reina attack is highly attenuated. Plaintiffs make no allegations that defendants’ relationship with ISIS was significantly different from their arm’s length, passive, and largely indifferent relationship with most users.And their relationship with the Reina attack is even further removed,given the lack of allegations connecting the Reina attack with ISIS’ useof these platforms. Second, plaintiffs provide no reason to think that defendants were consciously trying to help or otherwise participate inthe Reina attack, and they point to no actions that would normally support an aiding-and-abetting claim.
Plaintiffs’ complaint rests heavily on defendants’ failure to act; yetplaintiffs identify no duty that would require defendants or other communication-providing services to terminate customers after discovering that the customers were using the service for illicit ends. Even if such a duty existed in this case, it would not transform defendants’ distant inaction into knowing and substantial assistance that could establish aiding and abetting the Reina attack. And the expansive scope of plaintiffs’ claims would necessarily hold defendants liable as having aided and abetted each and every ISIS terrorist act committedanywhere in the world. The allegations plaintiffs make here are not the type of pervasive, systemic, and culpable assistance to a series of terrorist activities that could be described as aiding and abetting eachterrorist act by ISIS.
In this case, the failure to allege that the platforms here do more than transmit information by billions of people—most of whom use theplatforms for interactions that once took place via mail, on the phone, or in public areas—is insufficient to state a claim that defendants knowingly gave substantial assistance and thereby aided and abetted ISIS’ acts. A contrary conclusion would effectively hold any sort of communications provider liable for any sort of wrongdoing merely for knowing that the wrongdoers were using its services and failing to stopthem. That would run roughshod over the typical limits on tort liability and unmoor aiding and abetting from culpability. Pp. 21–27>>.

E poi: <<To be sure, plaintiffs assert that defendants’ “recommendation” algorithms go beyond passive aid and constitute active, substantial assistance. We disagree. By plaintiffs’own telling, their claim is based on defendants’ “provision of the infrastructure which provides material support toISIS.” App. 53. Viewed properly, defendants’ “recommendation” algorithms are merely part of that infrastructure.  All the content on their platforms is filtered through these algorithms, which allegedly sort the content by information and inputs provided by users and found in the content itself. As presented here, the algorithms appear agnostic as to the nature of the content, matching any content (including ISIS’ content) with any user who is more likely to view that content. The fact that these algorithms matched some ISIS content with some users thus does not convert defendants’ passive assistance into active abetting. Once the platform and sorting-tool algorithms were up and running, defendants at most allegedly stood back and watched; they are not alleged to have taken any further action with respect to ISIS>>, p. 29.

Decisione scontata in base alle allegazioni riportate: pare strano che sia potuta arrivare sino alla corte suoprema una così mal costruita domanda giudiziale.

Solo che lo stesso dovrebbe dirsi per tutto il contenzioso italiano ed europeo sulla responsabilità del provider (disciplina oggi immutata in sostanza nel Digital Services Act: Reg. UE 2022/2065,  che ha abrogato gli articoli 12-15 della direttiva 2000/31/CE)

Nello stesso giorno invece la SC declina la decisione nell’analogo caso Gonzalez v. Google, n° 21-1333 per motivi procedurali: quindi non va a vagliare la costituizionalità del safe harbour ex § 230 CDA, come molti pensavano.

Big IP day presso la Corte Suprema oggi 18 maggio. Sono infatti stati decisi anche altri due casi importanti : – Andy Wharol Foundation v. Goldsmith, n° 21–869,  (in tema di opera elaborata fotografica (copyright) e – AMGEN INC. ET AL. v. SANOFI ET AL. (brevetto farmaceutico) su cui v. mio post.