Mar 172010
 March 17, 2010  Posted by  Misc

Gene Policinski vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, has this op-ed on

Beliefs about the right to privacy are colliding ever more frequently with claims of free expression in a Web-wired world.

From a courtroom battle about an Internet video in Italy to a fight over gun-permit records in Indiana, we’re debating worldwide and locally exactly what’s private today, and how that concept is weighed against the long-proven benefits of free expression and public information.

An Italian court recently convicted three Google executives of violations of that nation’s privacy laws because of a 2006 video posted on Google Video that showed a teenager with Down syndrome being bullied by a group of children. Italian law requires the consent of everyone pictured before a video can be posted online — something lawyers for the U.S.-based company said would be impossible for services such as Google Video or YouTube.


The Age of the Internet has connected the world to us and us to the world in an unprecedented way in just the last 10 years. More information about us likely is available, in more places, accessible by more people, than ever before. At times, we may have a desire to be “let alone.”

But legislators, judges and others need to balance that individual wish against the positive results seen over time — so necessary for the vigorous exchange of information among self-governing people — that come from disclosure, transparency, news and public information.


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