In a recent article by The New York Times, four Google executives are possibly going to face jail-time for an offensive video posted on Google-video.
The video, which depicts four youths making fun of a boy with Down syndrome, was quickly removed from Google’s site after complaints were made; however prosecutors are arguing that the video should have never made it to the website in the first place.
According to a Google spokesperson, the four executives who are being charged include: David Drummond, Google’s senior vice president and chief legal officer; George Reyes, its former chief financial officer; and Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel. The fourth executive, who works for Google Video in London, was not identified.
None of the four executives were directly involved with handling the video.
Google released a statement in its defense:
“As we have repeatedly made clear, our hearts go out to the victim and his family. We are pleased that as a result of our cooperation the bullies in the video have been identified and punished. We feel that bringing this case to court is totally wrong. It’s akin to prosecuting mail service employees for hate speech letters sent in the post. What’s more, seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet. We will continue to vigorously defend our employees in this prosecution.“
Certainly Google brings up a good point. Who is at fault in a case like this? If the Internet is suppose to be this great mask of anonymity, where anyone and everyone with access can post whatever they like, shouldn’t the source be responsible? Do you kill the message or the messenger?
OR, does Google, because of its prominence on the Internet, have a greater responsibility to monitor its content? Are we going to start having censorship on the internet??
It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out.