The attorney general of England doesn’t believe that Google and Twitter should have to “act like a policeman” when it comes to what users of the websites post and share, according to The Guardian.
You might recall that last month a cadre of Members of Parliament declared quite the opposite by arguing that the British government should task Google with the incredible responsibility of policing the content of its search results in order to purge material that courts deem to be a violation of privacy. Grieve insists, however, that while websites should still bear the burden of responding to court decisions, they can’t be expected to “act as a policeman on their network.” He also warned that such demands upon social websites could create a slippery slope of sorts because “excessive regulation” of the internet would imperil civil liberties on the web.
The news must come as a welcome breath of fresh air to Google, which has been embroiled in legal troubles where the content posted to its websites is concerned. On the other side of the Atlantic, a one-considered-finished lawsuit brought by Viacom that focuses on a similar issue has recently been resurrected. In the suite, Viacom claims that Google should be held responsible for the copyrighted content that is illegally shared on YouTube, which is owned by Google. A lower court had previously sided with Google/YouTube, but the judge presiding over Viacom’s appeal swung the momentum in the opposite direction and said, “A reasonable jury could find that YouTube had actual knowledge of specific infringing activity on its website.”
With Google basically being a permanent resident in the news where internet legality is concerned, you have to begin to wonder that the company wouldn’t actually know what to do with itself if one day it ever wasn’t being sued by at least somebody.
Twitter, on the other hand, hasn’t exactly experienced the demands to appear in court that Google has, but it certainly caused a few waves earlier this year when it updated its policies that basically gave itself the powers to electively censor tweets on a regional basis. So far, there hasn’t really been any reports of that policy being enacted but the microblogging site has raised a few eyebrows with how its enforced its rules regarding parody accounts of political officials.