Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Two Quick Notes on Civil Rights

Unfortunately, I'm very busy this week and so haven't had much time to blog. Therefore I would like to quickly bring up two civil rights issues. First, Texas, the state known for executing people who were almost certainly innocent like Cameron Todd Willingham , is now set to execute another innocent man. Hank Skinner is set to be executed. The evidence against Skinner was based primarily on eye-witness testimony from a single witness who has since recanted. There are many other details about the case (such as the government's refusal to let Skinner have a DNA test) that make the situation appalling. Texas is going to execute an innocent man.

In the other news of appalling civil rights issues, we have an amazing act of censorship by Italy. An Italian judge has convicted three Google executives for violating Italian privacy laws. The crime apparently was running Youtube. in 2006, a group of youths uploaded to Youtube a video of them harassing and assaulting an autistic child. That's pretty despicable. And when Youtube received a legal complaint, they took the video down and cooperated with the Italian police in locating the children who made the video. Apparently, that is not enough. Any video which violates Italian privacy laws is now the fault of Google and Google employees can suffer both civil and criminal fines. Google has correctly outlined that this is a serious threat to free speech around the globe. This is all the more a problem because many civilized countries have extradition treaties with Italy. Considering the Italy is the same country which tried to require anyone in Italy uploading videos or writing blogs to register with the government, it seems pretty apparent that this is another example of Berlusconi and his corrupt media cronies trying to do their hardest to screw over media not under their control. Hopefully, either higher-level Italian courts will overrule this decision or the EU will step in.


Shalmo said...

So you are against capital punishment?

Joshua said...

Being against the execution of someone who is almost certainly innocent is not the same thing as being against capital punishment in general. I'm not in favor of capital punishment in the general case either but only because our criminal justice system is very messed up. If our system were much more reliable I'd be willing to support it. The system needs massive overhauls.