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The Google Dilemma

No, it wasn’t me who took down Google last night but something obviously happened, severe enough to cause a lengthy outage across their Blogger servers.

The column I wrote for Silicon “Just whose legislation rules the internet” last week, was of sufficient interest for me to include it in a meeting at Westminster. on the evening before the ecrime congress. With luck, it may provide a little background detail as a foundation for an adjournment debate on the internet and law, which I think is planned for next week, Parliamentary time permitting.

It has placed Google in a slightly awkward position and as one observer told me (paraphrased), “I don’t think that when pressed with a UK court order, Google UK will refuse to comply with a proper request for information. However because of the brand and the sheer volume of potential complaints they might receive, they are more likely to hide behind the smokescreen of US law in order to discourage such enquiries.”

This view reflects an earlier conversation I had with one of Google's company’s directors, an old friend from Microsoft. Google is most cooperative but appears internally divided between its proper US and European legal obligations. However, the internet, as one might expect, provides more than one way to skin the proverbial cat and so in the example given in my Silicon column, Google’s cooperation was ‘nice to have ‘but subsequently not ‘need to have’.

The last time I explored the subject of the internet and the law was when I wrote “March of the Spiders”, which had a section on ‘Notice & Takedown’ (NTD) in regard to copyright legislation. That report, which was published the ‘Aediles’ and the Conservative Technology Forum, was subsequently used as a submission to the European Parliament in the most recent review of the EUCD, the EU Copyright Directive.

There are still reference copies sprayed around the web and there’s a back-link to the original document for interest here.

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