Recently there has been a lot of controversy over who’s job it is to police the internet. The basis for the current debate being that UK government is pushing to make it the of an ISP or webhost to control all content publish on its space. The police and other organisations finding it more and more difficult, if not impossible to control what individualspublishon the net. They are proposing to change the law to take responsibility away from the individual and placing it on the content provider.
It has been the case for many years that isp’s have been to some degree responsible for facilitating the illegal distribution of software and music, “napster” being a landmark case in the late 90’s. In some ways though this is a simple black and white case sharing of MP3 files is illegal, liable, slander and bad taste are not quite so clear cut. The BBC did a show about the displaying of bad taste on service like u-tube last year. U-Tubes comments were that they investigate all content reported to them as being in bad taste and that in some case they would remove this, but where that content was questionable they said that this was really a police matter and they would only do so if requested to by the police.
This has moved from ISP’s to individual webmasters. Recently a company in the UK took a blogger to court, over not the content of his blog but the content of a comment placed on that blog by a visitor. The company won and the blogger was made to pay damages and remove the comments.
There are now more people blogging than ever before and it is a fine line between freedom of speech and slander, and i’m not sure it’s a bloggers job to decide on freedoms of speech. Isn’t everyone entitled to their own opinion. In most situations where i have seen extreme comments posted, theblogger and other visitors have countered those statements with more moderate discussion.