Bloggers Slam Italy For Anti-Google Ruling

Four things Italy doesn't get about the Internet

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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."
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