Mobile devices, Planets and the Human Condition

Hand em over. Thai government wants YouTube to provide Users Identity.

, posted: 12-May-2007 10:55

The latest in the ongoing saga, the Thai government has demanded that Google / Youtube hand over the identity of the user who posted the video(s) showing images that could be considered lese majeste,

this is a particularly interesting case, as youtube seem to be resisting due to the throwback they will get,

and yet they are also resisting taking down the video,

surely the easiest way to resolve this would be to make the video unavailable to those coming from thai based ips?

I am a huge privacy advocate, and don't believe that youtube should hand over the identities of the users, however at the same time,

a similar case, yet not so, that happened here in NZ there were youths posting videos of themselves beating up another student, and youtube had no problem with drawing the clip and handing over details to the police.

from the Bangkok post:

Mr Sitthichai issued the threat to demand IP addresses two days after Google, which owns, informed the ministry that it would remove controversial video clips from the website. In turn, the ministry cancelled plans to try to launch a cirminal suit against Google at the Bangkok Criminal Court on Friday.

Mr Sitthichai said the ministry would unblock the YouTube website "immediately" - when all the clips were gone.

But there is great uncertainty over whether the videos will be removed. The text of the letter to Mr Sitthichai from Google vice president Kent Walker has been released, and Mr Walker said at least two of the videos cited by a Thai complaint would stay as they did not break lese majeste laws.

"They appear to be political comments that are critical of both the government and the conduct of foreigners," the letter said.

"Because they are political in nature, and not intended insults of His Majesty, we do not see a basis for blocking these videos," said the letter.

More info here:

Government demands YouTube reveal user identity

My main question is this,

Should youtube be able to be a law into itself? and decide what is a crime to be handed over and what isn't?

I think really they need to remain totally impartial,  and not hand over the details of any users posting footage that is illegal.

in conjuction with that they need to be able to block content based on IP perhaps.  this is a very problematic issue,
each of the points I have made have pros and cons.

I don't envy YouTube's legal department trying to work out how to deal with this on.

Other related posts:
Internet Censorship, Guilt by accusation, I'm Angry. very angry (S92a - etc)
Privacy laws get long overdue tidyup over Motorist Registration (NZ)
Thailand vs Youtube.... "team Google, world police"??

Comment by freitasm, on 12-May-2007 11:09

Seeing that the U.S. has successfuly applied and obtained the extradition of an Australian citizen that never had traveled to the U.S., based on a copyright infrigement claim, it sets a precendence where anyone could be extradited (providing conventions and agreements are in place) for crimes which his own country doesn't have a law...

This is bad news.

Comment by geomark, on 12-May-2007 13:06

This is an interesting problem in global business. Content that is not even illegal in the U.S. is censored by Google, such as pornography and hate speech. Would they remove content that IS illegal in the U.S., Such as a threat to the U.S. president? You bet, and they would hand over the user's identity. So now consider that Google distributes content worldwide, and the laws in other countries are sometimes violated. As you said, should Google be the ones to apply their own standards, observing or ignoring laws as they see fit? A tough problem, and one that will certainly limit the global expansion of any business model like this. Thailand isn't a huge market but still attractive with 65 million people and rapid internet adoption so online business wants a share. China, huge, but with it's own set of issues as we have seen. The Arab world, very wealthy and potentially lucractive market but with another set of restrictions on content. Can a single business or website really address global markets?

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