Kevin Spacey’s Replacement as Paul Getty is the Sign of the Big Brother

I don’t enter into the merit of the tantamount hypocrisy surrounding Kevin Spacey’s fall from the Hollywood’s sky to the boiling Inferno of the media cauldron. I’m rather interested in the decision to re-take with another actor all the scenes of the movie where Mr. Spacey act as Paul Getty  that looks like an Orwell’s Big Brother job. Continue reading “Kevin Spacey’s Replacement as Paul Getty is the Sign of the Big Brother”

The ECHR to bash the online right to be forgotten

On Oct. 19 the European Court of Human Rights issued the decision of the case 71233/13 – Fuchsmann vs Germany where the Court held that:

No violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned the German courts’ rejection of the request by an internationally active entrepreneur for an injunction against  certain statements about him in an article published in the online edition of the New York Times.

The Court found that the German courts had struck a reasonable balance between the applicant’s right to respect for his private life under Article 8 and the newspaper’s right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 10 of the Convention. They had taken into consideration, in particular: that there had been a public interest in the alleged involvement of the applicant, a German businessman, in embezzlement and organised crime; that there had been a sufficient factual basis for the statements at issue; and that the article – which concerned mainly his professional life – was free from polemic statements and insinuations.

Continue reading “The ECHR to bash the online right to be forgotten”

Vaccines do not cause autism, do they?

Vaccines do not cause autism: this is what, according an Italian online newspaper, the Supreme Court (is supposed to have) stated, thus putting a “The End” tag to story where the viruses of superstition and ignorance plagued the mind of millions people who refused to treat their children because of a blatantly false information. Continue reading “Vaccines do not cause autism, do they?”

Blogger Liability for the users’ posts? The Italian Supreme Court Never Said It

The decision n. 54946/2016 released by the Italian Supreme Court – Vth Branch that held a blogger liable for defamation for a libeling post on his website is gaining momentum in Italy as a case law affirming the automatic liability of a blogger for the behaviour of the people who posts comments. But this is a wrong account of the story.

The merit of the issue is a comment where somebody called the chair of the Italian Soccer Pro League a certified criminal and a crook, and sent the blogger the criminal record of the chairman. While the defendant claimed of not knowing about the comment until the police knocked at his door, the court found that the email containing the criminal record was
enough to have actual knowledge of the existence comment itself.

This decision has been wrongly reported as a shift toward the intermediary liability for omitted control of a platform’s contents.

The decision grounded the indictment on the basis that the defendant actually – actually, I repeat – knew about the existence of the defamatory content and didn’t remove it. Thus – it can be summarized – he either directly contributed to the defamation or indirectly allowed the post to exploit its effect.

While, thus, this decision doesn’t impose a duty of preemptive monitoring, it broadens the notion of “actual knowledge”.

To what extent it will be assessed in the near future.

The President of the Italian Low Chamber, Blodrini, holds Google and Facebook “ethically liable” for what the users do online

According to Laura Boldrini (left wing), President of the Italian Low Chamber, Google and Facebook are ethically liable for what the users do online. Talking about the (venerable) online hoaxes phenomenon, she verbatim stated:

They are not telcos, they have an ethical and social liability. While obviously it isn’t only their fault if hoaxes are spreading. 1

This is not the first time that Boldrini tries to extend the liability of the users to ISP, Telcos and Over the top operators and this last statement lead to think that there should be an actual agenda on this topic.

But the concept of “moral/ethic liability” is both religious and individual, and in a democratic country where the rule of Law is supreme, is not supposed to be taken into account. On the contrary, following a precise script, this is what we face every time that the Internet is involved: public outcry first, ethical issue next and, finally, an “ethical” regulation.

In the specific case, Boldrini’s position is wrong from whatever the side you look at it.

It is ethically dangerous because weakens the legal principle of the individual’s personal liability, thus reinforcing users’ idea that online there is no accountability.

It is legally unfeasible, because the e-commerce directive made crystal clear that ISPs cannot be forced to monitor and verify each single act of a user, and the data protection directive says, again, crystal clear, that the data protection regulation doesn’t apply to individual’s data processing (in other word: the law doesn’t work for a Facebook’s post made by a user.)

It is market’s sinking. Italy has already proven to be unable to join the digital economy race, and this regulatory approach from Boldrini is another dead weight to the Italian Telco industry.

  1. Non sono compagnie telefoniche, hanno una responsabilit morale e sociale. Anche se ovviamente non soltanto colpa loro se si diffondono le bufale.