Jeff Kosseff

 Jeff Kosseff is an Assistant Professor of Cybersecurity Law at the United States Naval Academy. He is the author of Cybersecurity Law (Wiley), the first comprehensive textbook on U.S. cybersecurity laws and regulations, and in Spring 2019 will publish The Twenty-Six Words that Created the Internet, a nonfiction narrative history of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.  His articles about cybersecurity and Internet law have appeared in Iowa Law Review, Wake Forest Law Review, IEEE Security & Privacy, Computer Law and Security Review, Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, and other publications.  In October 2017, he testified about online sex trafficking and Section 230 before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.  In March 2017, he testified about Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act before the House Judiciary Committee.


The Book

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"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

Did you know that these twenty-six words are responsible for much of America's multibillion-dollar online industry? What we can and cannot write, say, and do online is based on just one law—a law that protects online services from lawsuits based on user content. Jeff Kosseff exposes the workings of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which has lived mostly in the shadows since its enshrinement in 1996. Because many segments of American society now exist largely online, Kosseff argues that we need to understand and pay attention to what Section 230 really means and how it affects what we like, share, and comment upon every day.

The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet tells the story of the institutions that flourished as a result of this powerful statute. It introduces us to those who created the law, those who advocated for it, and those involved in some of the most prominent cases decided under the law. Kosseff assesses the law that has facilitated unprecedented freedom of online speech. His keen eye for the law, combined with his background as an award-winning journalist, demystifies a statute that affects all our lives –for good and for ill. While Section 230, like all laws, may be imperfect, Kosseff maintains that it is necessary to foster free speech and innovation.



Most people benefit from Section 230 every hour, but are unaware it even exists. Jeff Kosseff’s new book provides the first-ever comprehensive history of this monumentally important law. The book’s lucid and reader-friendly style will fully engage Section 230 newcomers; while the book’s many never-before-publicized details will enlighten Section 230 enthusiasts.
— Eric Goldman, Santa Clara University
So much of our life today―our reputation, networks, and livelihood―is mediated by our online presence. Kosseff’s excellent and well-researched book should thus be read by anyone interested in online regulation. It is a joy to read.
— Orly Lobel, author of You Don't Own Me
The Twenty Six Words that Created the Internet provides a timely reminder that the questions we now face about platforms, speech, and harm are not new. A combination of detective work, investigative journalism, and historical documentation, Kosseff’s book is frank about the law’s shortcomings even as it is persuasive about its overall value.
— Daphne Keller, Stanford Center for Internet and Society
This book is important and timely. Kosseff clearly and concisely explains the complicated history of Section 230, and how its ‘safe harbor’ created the internet as we know it today. But he also acknowledges that Section 230 can shield terrible crimes and impose other social costs that we must mitigate.
— Brian L. Frye, University of Kentucky