Influencing Internet Law

Our Amicus Program gives the Internet a voice in the courts.

We believe in a world where the Internet means opportunity. We care about its future. 

Courts frequently decide on legal questions, and interpret statutes and regulations that affect the functioning of the Internet. Often, courts confront questions about how to apply laws to rapidly changing Internet technology. The Internet Society Amicus Program is how we share our views with the courts to ensure that any laws that are passed support the open, globally connected, secure, and trustworthy Internet.

Through the Amicus Program, the Internet Society shares its technical and policymaking expertise to help courts understand how their legal decisions will impact the Internet, including how decisions will promote or hinder openness, connectivity, and security on the Internet. Through our amicus efforts, the Internet Society brings a credible voice to cases critical to the functioning of the Internet.

How Do We Influence Internet Law?

An amicus brief is a written submission to a court in which a person or organization who is not party to the proceedings can present relevant information and arguments to assist the court in deciding on the question presented in the case.

Where Do We Appear as Amicus?

Because amici curiae play a critical role in litigation in the United States and are expressly permitted by court rules, to date the Internet Society has filed amicus briefs in U.S. courts. However, the Internet Society is a global organization and would consider opportunities to file amicus briefs or equivalent documents in other forums to the extent those forums permit such filings.

Areas of Interest

Our areas of interest include:

Intermediary Liability
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Routing Security
Data flow routing, notably the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), and ongoing efforts to secure routing.

Internet Access Policy
Laws that incentivize or discourage further efforts to reach underserved communities.

Splinternet/U.S. Clean Network
Laws that restrict a network’s ability to interconnect and limit direct access to information or connectivity.

Laws or other government efforts that could restrict the ability of people or companies to offer products that provide encryption, especially end-to-end encrypted communications.

Other laws or regulations that allocate liability among Internet participants in ways that promote or hinder an open, globally connected, secure, and trustworthy Internet.

If you are interested in learning more or would like the support of our Amicus Program, please contact us.

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Featured Amicus Briefs

On 19 January 2023, the Internet Society filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the Gonzalez v. Google case. We argue that liability protections—as contained in “Section 230” in U.S. law—are essential for many different types of service providers on the Internet to continue to carry and support the vast array of commentary, artistic works, and other content posted by individuals all around the world. Read an overview.

On 11 October 2022, the Internet Society filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Hunley v. Instagram. In our brief, we argue that the act of embedding content or code is critical to the Internet’s generative and modular capacity, without which the Internet and Web would be a mere shadow of what they are today.

On 30 September 2016, organizations and individuals within the Internet’s technical and business communities filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit filed by the Attorney Generals of Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, and Nevada seeking to prevent the IANA Stewardship Transition.

On 4 December 2020, the Internet Society, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Center for Democracy & Technology filed a brief of amici curiae in the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the U.S. WeChat Users Alliance case. This case challenges the U.S. Department of Commerce’s September order banning U.S. businesses from engaging in certain technical transactions with WeChat or the WeChat application. Read our statement.

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