Oregon – In December, Republican politicians sued the Oregon secretary of state for using a computer program to spot false information during the 2022 elections. They were worried this could hurt free speech.
Former Oregon Secretary of State had hired British company
The previous Oregon secretary of state had hired Logically AI, a British firm, in 2022. This was part of a test project to keep an eye on false or harmful online stories, especially about mail voting and state election cheating. This was mentioned in a request for proposals from the secretary of state’s office.
Worried lawmakers in the state sent a letter to the secretary of state’s office, demanding they stop using the AI technology right away.
“We have learned that the purpose of this system is to continually monitor and actively manipulate the free speech of Oregonians. We believe that this system as described in the Request for Proposal (RFP) violates Oregonians’ First Amendment rights,” they wrote in the letter.
According to an MDM narrative report obtained by Just the News, online speech flagged during Oregon’s 2022 election cycle included:
“Mail-in ballots are used to commit voter and election fraud in Oregon.” “Future elections can’t be trusted due to the fraudulent 2020 elections.” “Voter and election fraud has been happening in Oregon for decades.”
The report found that the AI system marked “high-risk” online stories that were against mail voting in Oregon and wanted voter ID laws.
The then-secretary of state responded in a letter, stating, “My office has no authority to remove information from the internet, so there is no First Amendment issue here.”
“The purpose of the proposed system will be to review publicly available information on websites, social media, and blogs, and notify us of threats and misinformation in a manner similar to a Google news alert,” the secretary continued in the letter.
“We will do two things with these notifications: 1) when there is a threat to life or infrastructure, we will notify the relevant law enforcement agencies, and 2) when there is false information about our elections, we will use our communications channels to share accurate information with voters.”
This response led state politicians to sue, saying the system’s goal goes against free speech.
Oregon isn’t the only state with legal issues about election censorship. Arizona’s former Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs faced a lawsuit for targeting social media during the 2022 elections. The lawsuit said state leaders worked with big tech companies. Before this December lawsuit, Oregon’s secretary of state had already planned to use an AI system again for the 2024 elections to stop false or harmful stories.