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Google Italy Video Case

By - November 24, 2006

Interesting tidbit from Reuters:

ROME (Reuters) – Italian prosecutors on Friday put two Google Italy representatives under investigation as part of an inquiry into how a video of teenagers harassing an autistic classmate surfaced on its Video site, a judicial source said.

The two are being investigated for allegedly failing to check on the content of the video posted on the Internet search engine’s Web site.

The video, which sparked outrage in the country, showed four teenagers beating and poking fun at a 17-year old disabled boy in a classroom in the northern Italian city of Turin.

What really struck me is this part:

“I’ve said repeatedly that there can’t be double standards, one for the press and television and another for the Internet,” (Italy’s Education Minister Giuseppe Fioroni ) told ANSA news agency.

The Internet search engine shared the same duty as other forms of media in distributing “responsible” content, he said.

Huh.

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12 thoughts on “Google Italy Video Case

  1. Tom says:

    Shoot the messenger!

    Tom

  2. Agree or not, he’s right to note the double standard. In the USA things seem to lean towards support for new and relaxed media content and distribution standards but Europe won’t go this route so easily.

  3. Agree or not, he’s right to note the double standard. In the USA things seem to lean towards support for new and relaxed media content and distribution standards but Europe won’t go this route so easily.

  4. Nathan says:

    You can’t just look at this one video (outrageous and disgusting as it is), and say that the internet needs harsh censorship laws. Its just not that black and white… this video is clearly out at an extreme (and should be removed), but there are so many gray areas in between that its very hard to draw a general legal line somewhere. If you ask 10 different people, you’ll get 10 different ‘lines’ that they each believe shouldn’t be crossed by the media/google.

    You can’t really have free speech and censorship at the same time.

    It strikes me that people seem to be all for google censorship when it comes to videos in Italy… But when it’s china who wants google to do the censoring… well… thats a whole different story. And maybe it is a different story… but you’ve gotta admit that there are at least some parallels…

    Don’t get me wrong, I totally disagree with Google’s china decisions, and I’m just as horrified by the content of the video as everyone else. But I think we need to be very careful that any possible internet censorship laws are made with a clear, rational head, and not made in a knee-jerk reaction to a video like this.

    Anyway… just my thoughts.
    Nathan

  5. Dave White says:

    Well I think based upon the country and the people’s belief Google should come up with atleast some good strategies to value their feelings.

  6. Andrea Baron says:

    I’m Italian and agree with the removal of the video from google video: this clearly isn’t “free of speech” but “lack of values” maybe.
    The investigation of the Google Italy representatives is overkill. I have a website where people insert Italian quotes, then someone from the staff checks them, and then they are visible on the website. This is the right way to do it, but this doesn’t scale. Even now we can’t always be as quick as the people insert quotes and I’m really concerned on this for the future. If Google Video or YouTube had taken this path from the start, I think they wouldn’t be where they are. The thing that made people outrageous here is that the video appeared on the Top 10 or Top 25, and no one noticed: now that’s strange.

  7. This whole topic will be one of the most challenging things to cope with.

  8. I guess it’s interesting that some of the first cases against Google in the video space are:
    1) Coming from Europe.
    2) Not having to do with their YouTube acquisition.

    My two cents.

  9. Miki says:

    Being italian doesn’t necessarily means to be silly and unaware of the Net as Mr. Fioroni tries to be.

  10. Davide Gullo says:

    I’m Italian. Should I be ashamed?
    Sometimes, unfortunately, yes.
    The Italy’s Education Minister Giuseppe Fioroni have a Blog where the last post is on Friday, 03 March 2006. It is spam infested!
    If you don’t know Internet you can not talk about it!!

  11. Hiroko says:

    It is not an Italian issue, it is a worldwide issue. Other governments (including the US!) are just as insistent that private companies enforce their social standards for them; it is only the “hot buttons” that are different from country to country. No government is willing to allow genuine freedom of expression. They all want Google to become their information police.

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