NaturalNews.com / Ramon Tomey
(Natural News) An unreleased federal report has said there is no evidence online free speech causes hate crimes offline. The January 2021 report sent to the U.S. Congress has yet to appear on any government website, but Breitbart News managed to get a copy of it. Government sources have expressed bafflement as to why the report, typically made public after being sent to lawmakers, had not been released.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) under the Department of Commerce prepared the report. NTIA is responsible for advising the U.S. president on all things related to telecommunication and the internet. While the report was prepared under the Trump administration, the request to revise it came from the 116th Congress with a Democrat majority. The report included revisions to a 1993 NTIA paper titled The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes. While the 1993 document is still available, the latest edition of the NTIA report is not.
Sources in close proximity to the drafting and approval process surmised that bureaucrats and establishment politicians are trying to suppress the report. This is because its conclusions challenge popular media narratives that internet-inspired hate crimes are on the rise. These same personalities trying to suppress the report also have a vested interest in the “hate crimes” panic.
According to a source who was formerly with the Trump administration, the Department of Justice (DoJ) Civil Rights Division was at the helm of efforts to oppose the report. The division in charge of prosecuting hate crimes is also at the forefront of “efforts to drum up hysteria” over white nationalist extremism in the country, the source added. The Office of Management and Budget eventually approved the report and sent it to Congress, despite its opposition to the report’s findings.
The source who worked closely with the NTIA on the report commented: “Reports like these are typically made public. I don’t know why this report isn’t up on a government website yet. It’s already been submitted to Congress, [so] it’s not a private thing anymore. I suspect the Civil Rights Division might have something to do with it.”
The report’s suppression only proves that actions to curtail free speech online are unjustified
The NTIA report said there is no evidence that growth in internet usage and hate crimes were explicitly linked together. In fact, the report even pointed out that there is not even any correlation between the two. Such a discovery delivers a knockout blow to mainstream media allegations of a surge in hate crimes over the past five years – because DoJ statistics do not support it.
If anything, the report had strong words against efforts to clamp down on online communications. It stated: “We caution that efforts to control or monitor online speech … present serious First Amendment concerns and runs counter to our nation’s dedication to free expression.” It quoted former President Barack Obama who said “the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, … [but] more speech.”
Big Tech companies have been at the forefront of efforts to suppress First Amendment rights, and the report strongly condemned these firms for undermining freedom of expression. It mentioned that technology firms have recognized the need for artificial intelligence (AI) to augment human moderation. While technologies are being developed to address the limits of these algorithms, many of these have been developed by the Chinese regime to suppress dissent and political discussion.
The report further elaborated: “Given that all the major social media platforms have rules against hate speech and … employ sophisticated algorithmic AI approaches to enforce these often vague and contradictory rules, it is appropriate to ask what they gain from it.” Big Tech companies do not reasonably expect their moves to censor free speech will end or diminish hate crimes, the report also mentioned.
Furthermore, the NTIA report said Big Tech censorship poses real dangers to the political system. The platforms have removed content that many consider seriously engaged with pressing political and social issues under the guise of “hate speech” rules. (Related: Sen. Ted Cruz: Big Tech censorship “greatest threat to free speech and democracy”.)
Breitbart News has reached out to both the NTIA and the DoJ Civil Rights Division for comment on the matter.