Bruce Lee, Getty Images and the Dangers of Cultural Oversimplification in an Overconnected World

Chinese-American martial arts exponent Bruce Lee (1940 – 1973), in a karate stance, early 1970s. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

The Internet is a necessary tool to handle international exchanges. Online Professional Content Delivery Services should pay the utmost attention to the information they release Continue reading “Bruce Lee, Getty Images and the Dangers of Cultural Oversimplification in an Overconnected World”

Intesa Sanpaolo and the Careless Copywriter

I have always been fascinated by the unwanted consequences of an advertising slogan, and by the lack of perspective of (some) communication campaigns.

This time, what grabbed my attention was a claim published on Intesa Sanpaolo website, whose small-prints read:

Until July 2, in Rome, Milan and Turin, the experience of living with no cash.

Almost automatically a reaction snapped out in my – and I assume not only mine – mind: looking at how economy is currently performing, a lot of people don’t need a bank to “feel” how does it is to live with no cash.

This simple consideration – a pun, actually – sinks down the copywriter’s attempt to spin the optimistic view of the world, that incites people to live… sorry spend money without (immediate) worries.

How could Intesa Sanpaolo CEO handles himself if, for instance during a TV debate where he talks about this ad campaign, somebody throws at him a line like the one I’ve figured out?

Yes, he might explain that the message is not meant to offend people that have hard time in carry out their daily life, that the message, on the contrary, is an hymn to the joie-de-vivre and so on. But as always happens with short, neat and powerful hits, when you start dodging the blow with complicated explanation, the damage is already there.

Of course this scenario is not going to happens for the probability that somebody might notice, understand and speculate on this minor issue is actually close to none. But as once a great advertising man told me about the importance of covering all bases:

nobody is going to notice a small mistake, but the one who will exploit it against you.

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.