Friday, 26 February 2010

Google employees liable for material on Google Video

My Google Alerts produce such a lot of stuff that really deserves a wider audience, I'm going to have to start firing off brief postings with a short note of what it's about and a link to the story - until someone decides that I can't post a link, of course. First of all, here's a story about how an Italian court has convicted three employees of Google for breaching the privacy of a Downs Syndrome sufferer who appeared in a video uploaded to a Google service.
Now, the convicted Google employees did not make the video, nor did they upload it to the net. They just happened, perhaps, to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If ISPs are going to take responsibility in this way for what people do with their services, they are going to be very wary of offering services to anyone. This point is made by the Google people in the story. but (on the other hand) I don't find the argument that ISPs have no responsibility for what goes on very edifying. in practical terms, it's pretty well impossible for them to do much about what goes on - but when they are making a lot of money out of it (I mean the company, not these individuals, about whom I know nothing) one might reasonably expect them to be under some sort of obligation. as I observed in a comment on Charon QC's blog this morning, what connection is there between privilege and responsibility in the modern world? It had been broken long before the banking crisis ...

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