In a case that's being closely watched in the tech world, three Google executives were convicted
of privacy violations in an Italian court Wednesday. The criminal trial came after bullies uploaded a video of an abusive attack on a Down
syndrome youth that spread across the Internet. The ruling punishes Google for not vigilantly monitoring the content it hosts. Responding to the verdict, tech bloggers are livid, saying it undermines the basic principles of Internet freedom.
- Pre-Screening Is Not Feasible, writes Charles Arthur at The Guardian: "With
more than 20 hours of video uploaded every minute worldwide...
monitoring all that content, even for a single country, could prove
enormously expensive. That in turn would put profitability for the site
- which is thought to have lost between $100m and $500m in 2009 -
further away than ever."
- Ignores Existing European Law, writes Mike Butcher at TechCrunch: "Why did someone not explain to this idiot judge that the video was NOT
uploaded by these Google executives? Hello? ... The court is ignoring
existing European law which gives hosting providers a safe harbor from
liability so long as they remove illegal content once they are notified
of its existence. It's at this point one wonders if we should just give
up on Italy as ever getting the Internet."
- Google's Response Was Laudable--Not Criminal, insists Mike Masnick
at Techdirt: "It's even more ridiculous when you realize the full
story. Within hours of Google being alerted to the problems with the
video, the video came down. In other words, the company acted promptly
when questions about the video were raised."
- Could Have Wide-Sweeping Effects, warns Stan Schroeder
at Mashable: "Forcing service providers to police content uploaded by
users is one thing (arguably wrong, but that's another matter), but
sentencing employees of those service providers to jail over such
content is at the very least bizarre and shows a blatant
misunderstanding of how the Internet and various social content sharing
services work. If not overturned, this decision might have long lasting
consequences on all content sharing services on the Internet."
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
jhudson at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.