Thursday, November 26, 2009


Like most Americans, I woke this morning to one of my favorite days of the year, Thanksgiving. Unlike most Americans, I also woke this morning to news reports of an Italian prosecutor calling for me to be sentenced to one year in prison.

But in the spirit of the day, now that I’ve skimmed the news and reassured friends that I’m not going to prison (I hope), I’ll go about my day:

I’ll do some planning for my Dad’s 80th Birthday Party, do a kick-boxing class at gym, work on an academic privacy paper on the hotly-debated question of whether IP addresses should be considered “personal data” under EU law, give legal advice on some privacy questions, prepare for some meetings in Berlin, and, best of all, I’ll end the day with a candle-light dinner with the person I love in the city I love.

That’s a lot to be thankful for (well, not the Berlin or the Milan parts), but the rest anyway.

1 comment:

Mike Fried said...

If I were in your position at Google, I would recommend to the higher ups to suspend all access to YouTube in Italy until resolution of the trial (or indefinitely) as a legal precaution against future criminal persecution for things which are not crimes.

After all, how many more potential crimes can Google employees be held responsible for and suffer jail time in Italy? By that same reason, perhaps Google should remove all of its services from Italy until resolution of said trial as a show of respect for the laws of the country.

I'm sure it has been thought about by the people high up in Google, and likely dismissed as an unreasonable and immature publicity stunt, but it would still be a reasonable measure while the trial is underway to prevent potential legal issues that could add charges during the trial.

If the trial judge _does_ find you guilty, then I expect Google to suspend all potentially illegal services from Italy immediately. Charging Google's employees as criminals for the actions of Italian citizens using the service is just asking Google to remove all of its wonderful services from Italy. I'm really surprised it hasn't happened already.

The public backlash against these ridiculous laws if/when Google turns off its services in Italy for being charged will be far greater at affecting change of these laws. I think it should have happened the moment the criminal suit started.

Just imagine trying to log into GMail and getting a message pointing to a letter apologising that for legal persecution reasons, Google must cease all services to Italy until or unless the court decides that Google is not responsible for the actions of Google's users. It would end something like, "we are working hard to ensure compliance with Italy's legal system and hope to resolve this issue as soon as possible."

I don't think the Italian court will charge you and the others as guilty (this case doesn't seem to have any merit), but I really hope that if the court does, that Google is ready to take this kind of measure.

Happy thanksgiving.