Columnist Claims Italy's Google Verdict Makes Sense

from the someone-edited-that? dept

Ted Rall is a columnist/cartoonist, who, a couple years ago, wrote one of the most ridiculous opinion pieces we've seen in a long time -- suggesting that the answer to newspapers' current economic woes is that they should all take their websites down. That column was so full of economic and legal ignorance I thought there was a good chance that it was actually satire -- but people insisted he was serious. Now reader Mandy alerts us to a new column from Rall that again is so devoid of basic logic that I wonder if it's satire. This time he's standing way out on a limb arguing that Italy got it right in finding three Google execs criminally liable for a video some kids posted to Google Video.

Rall's reasoning once again defies logic. He seems unable to comprehend the difference between a publisher and a tool or service provider. Instead, he just insists that Google (and any other online service provider) should be forced to carefully review and fact check every piece of content uploaded before it can be available. Apparently, he doesn't quite recognize what he's asking for. On YouTube alone, more than 20 hours of video are uploaded every minute. And that's just YouTube. Rall also suggests that every blog post, every Tweet and every Facebook message should first be reviewed by an editor before it can be posted.

I think this really goes back to Rall's previous clueless column. He can't stand competition, so his solution is to put in place ridiculous free speech destroying rules and regulations to effectively kill off the internet, because someone might misuse it. His argument is based on the scenario that what if he ran a story falsely accusing you of being a drug-addicted child pornographer. He claims -- falsely -- that if he just published it online, there's nothing you can do about it. He later admits he's lying by saying you could sue him, but he brushes that off by saying no one would sue him because he has no money. Of course, people sue for libel all the time -- even those with no money.

But the really scary thing is that Rall seems to think that basically destroying the freedom to communicate and to express yourself online makes sense, just because the tool might possibly be used to spread a false statement. Does he not recognize the unintended consequences of this? Does he not realize that his "suggestion" for fixing the internet is effectively how much of China's internet censorship program works? Does he not think there might be more effective ways of dealing with such situations? For example, if Rall were to falsely accuse you of being a drug-addicted child pornographer, and it's clearly bogus, then you have an opportunity to fight back, and point out that Rall is wrong, destroy his reputation, and make sure he never gets another job again. Why not let free speech combat free speech?

Instead, Rall seems terrified of free speech, and would prefer that it only come from the "professionals" like himself.

Filed Under: communication, editors, filters, free speech, italy, ted rall
Companies: google


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  1. identicon
    CastorTroy-Libertarian, 9 Mar 2010 @ 10:12am

    Re: Google Italy Verdict

    A) Liberals and Libertarians do not see eye to eye on about any subject know to man (unless the liberals are offering to jump in a volcano, then we will agree to give them a push), Thats anarchist (yes libertarianism followed through to the absolute purist form it just that) and Statist/Communism (Liberalism followed through to the absolute purist form) are Complete OPPOSITES of each other.

    B) When you spew positions so totally offbase some people are going to just respond to name calling, thats life, and they really don't feel like taking the time to explain that to you or educate you.

    C) WHY would the phone company be responsible for a call to you from a person with a restraining order?? thats a epic logic fail, it goes away from every foundation that the phone system was setup for, and puts the liability for the actions of 1 person on another. Plus what if in your senario would happen if the person used a payphone (if you can find one) or stole another persons cellphone, or just asked to use it? Now you want some kind of DNA reader in every phone?? thats permentally uplinked to a database that says who can and can't call specific phone numbers???? ARE YOU KIDDING ME... Because that would NEVER be abused by the powers that be, nope, oh wait they are already do with the system today much less your Star Trek Fanatsy world.

    D) Final one because i just cant waste anymore time on your education (and basic rule for you to remember, time is money) IN you own words the Keyboard manufacture (made a tool right) could not stop my your libel, well if the phone company can stop because of a restraining order, then a keyboard manufacture can as well, You could just have the government (lower case on purpose) Mandate that all keyboards must come from them (so no pesky profits, their EVIL) with a Keylogger, and AI that doesnt allow Libelis material to be typed, and if it is, it calls the police to come get the EVIL person (they might be trying to make a profit), that would work as well as the telephone company idea you had or having some one be liable for a video posted by another....

    Hold tight to the freedoms you have, because liberals think only they can manage them properly.

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