An Italian court has convicted three Google Inc. executives on Wednesday for being criminally responsible for a video showing an autistic teenager being bullied. Though they can appeal against the verdict, the case highlights the broader problem related to Internet freedom. Google has responded strongly to the verdict saying that if the verdict stands, ‘The web as we know will cease to exist’.
It is indeed a scary proposition for technology companies which operate on a global scale. This particular video on Google website drew 5,500 viewers in nearly 2 months before it was pulled down after a police notification. So, should Google, YouTube and other video sharing sites screen each and every video before it gets uploaded? That’s a monstrous task.
Many technology companies have decided to support Google in this crisis which threatens to change the meaning of ‘Internet Freedom’ for everybody. While I agree that videos which hurt public sentiment should not be allowed to feature on such websites, I know that it’s an uphill task to screen every video before it features on the internet.
The case just highlights the vulnerabilities of the web, which some times can get uglier than even our worst imagination.
- Italians decide Google is a Just Another Publisher (broadstuff.com)
- Groups Voice Alarm Over Google Conviction (techdailydose.nationaljournal.com)
- Court says Google execs failed to act on objectionable YouTube video (newstatesman.com)