WASHINGTON D.C. - An Italian court has convicted three Google employees for failure to comply with the Italian privacy code in relation to a video that was uploaded to its video service by Italian users. Berin Szoka, Senior Fellow at The Progress & Freedom Foundation, had the following comments:
Today, three Google executives have been convicted of the supposed crime of merely working at a company that provided a platform for the free speech of tens of millions users around the world. If the law holds online intermediaries liable for content generated and shared by users, those intermediaries will be forced to determine which speech might be offensive or hurtful to someone. Given the sheer volume of user-generated content, this is an impossible task for even the largest web companies, and would thus result in sweeping censorship of online free speech.
Unfortunately, this trend towards intermediary deputization is only beginning. Here at home, the law that makes such platforms possible, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, is under attack, by those who want to control online speech. This law has been the cornerstone of Internet Freedom and offers a clear alternative to the dangerous course Italy has embarked on today.
Szoka is available for further comment. Please contact Amy Smorodin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.