The third set of essays is out from the Knight Institute’s Lies, Free Speech, and the Law” symposium. The papers were developed as part of a year-long project spearheaded by our 2021-2022 Senior Visiting Research Scholar Genevieve Lakier to explore how the law regulates, or should regulate, false and misleading speech.

An essay from Alan K. Chen of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law looks into the legality and societal benefits of investigative deceptions, which involve lying to gain some type of access that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. Chen explores why intentional lies used to conduct undercover investigations are celebrated in some contexts and criminalized in others.

Adam M. Enders of the University of Louisville and Joseph Uscinski of the University of Miami, in their essay, propose a new framework for dealing with the spread of conspiracy theories but question whether they are growing more harmful and whether laws restricting their dissemination should be allowed.

The legal, cultural, and political threats to the government’s knowledge producers (e.g., agency scientist, inspector general) are highlighted in an essay by Heidi Kitrosser of the University of Minnesota Law School, who writes that they play an essential role in a democratic society and should be insulated from political pressure.

And Jamal Greene of Columbia Law School explores government regulation of misinformation through its own counterspeech, analyzing when such propaganda is permissible.

Previous essays in the series can be found at the Lies and the Law research project page.