Italy threatens the safe harbor of the internet

March 1, 2010

Last week 3 Google employees’ were convicted of failing to comply with Italy’s privacy code. They were acquitted of the original charges of the criminal defamation code of Italian law. Now you are probably asking “why were they charged in the first place and what does this mean to me?” And that might have the most terrifying answer of all.

In 2006 some Italian students made a video showing them bulling a mentally retarded student and uploaded it to Google Video. As soon as the police had notified them of the video Google immediately removed it from the servers and assisted in the apprehension of the students responsible. Thinking the situation was over Google was surprised to find out that a total of 4 employees had been charged with jail-able offenses. The Italian courts ascertain that hosting services are criminally responsible for any and all material that is hosted on it servers.

To break it down into lay terms it means that Google is responsible for reviewing EVERY single video uploaded into Google video and You tube. Now that is an impossible task to review every piece of material since YouTube alone receives on average 20 hrs of material a minute. To ask a host to review and censor based on obscenity laws every piece of material is stifling to say the least. It would require all bloggers to review every comment prior to it being uploaded, it would require Dan Carlin to review every thread and reply prior to allowing it on his site.

This is a backdoor way to censor the internet, to hold all providers 100% liable for any media submitted by average users will require providers to either cut out any ability to post or sift through tons of material trying to separate the ‘acceptable’ from the ‘undesirable’. What will happen when this spreads and countries start submitting arrest warrants for any material that their country finds obscene? Remember that obscenity is in the eye of the beholder and many beholders find anything they don’t agree with, obscene.

I don’t know what will happen to the 3 men convicted in the Italian courts, but I am hoping that Google will appeal. Users everywhere should be outraged by such ideas that countries can try and control what they do not own. The internet is not a medium it is a place and when you find yourself looking at something you find offensive remember there is that [X] in the corner of your browser.

Kevin Criswell


Will Google pull the wool out from over our eyes?

February 28, 2010

Anyone who regularly listens to Leo Laporte over at has probably heard him state that the telecoms normally overcharge and under deliver when it comes to broadband.

“What does this mean to me?”  You may ask.

Well what it means is that here in the U.S. on average, we pay high prices for low speeds.   Many of the telecom companies tend to create a intentional scaricity of broadband.  They tend to place caps on usage claiming that broadband is a scarce resource and needs to be heavy regulated in its use in order to “save enough for everyone”.

The reality of this situation is that there seems to be plenty of broadband available for everyone.  During the ‘’ boom we overbuilt the networks, laying down much more fiber optic cable than we ended up using.  All this extra fiber optic cabling is often referred to as “dark fiber” due to the fact it is not in use.

Now with Google’s announcement to light the “dark fiber” and enter the world of being an ISP, this may change everything we know.   Google claims to be able to bring speeds approaching 1 Gigabit per second to the average household.   If Google sucedds in this it will revolutionise the broadband buisness here in America, no longer will ISPs be able to brag about 10 Megabits per second being “lightening fast”.  Internet providers will have to scramble  to bring their network speeds up in order to compete with Google.

As we move further into the 21st century and the majority of media is consumed through an internet connection, faster speeds will become a requirement.   The ability to transfer large amounts of data almost instantly will hopefully give birth to new technology.  The ability to consume any media on-demand with out the need for buffering or downloading it first will change the way we use the internet.