Some strange internet-related legislations have been enacted since the internet’s inception. Several governments have taken rather dubious steps in an attempt to limit online users’ liberty, some more drastic than others.
A court in Italy has sentenced three Google officials in a case involving a clip featuring an autistic youngster being tormented. By permitting the footage to be released online, the Google workers were charged with breaching Italian law.
The corporation has pledged to challenge the verdict, which it calls a “assault on the basic ideals of freedom upon which the internet was established.” The three executives were sentenced to six months in prison with their convictions deferred.
The lawsuit might have far-reaching consequences for the internet’s survival. Hosting sites like Facebook and YouTube claim that they cannot be found culpable for material posted by its users unless they are made aware of an illegal act. Prosecutors in Italy said that Google was irresponsible in not deleting the footage earlier.
The surprising ruling establishes an extremely destructive precedent that undermines freedom of opinion and hinders creativity on the worldwide web. In case the sentence is upheld, it would restrict the development of Internet businesses which provide user-generated content platforms aroudn the world, leaving social media users without a robust platform for free speech.
While the ruling was made in Italy, it has the potential to encourage oppressive governments and be used to legitimize their own attempts to stifle internet privacy and freedom.
One of the major worries is that countries may resort to employing criminal legislation or threats of criminal charges to coerce firms to bow to their political agenda. These nations without any protective laws and attitudes related to freedom of speech could become a continuing issue and the threat from their actions even get worse in future. Such lawsuits could be described as a massive extension of liability.