Italian court tosses EU law aside, convicts Google execs

ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind DroneAustin, TX
edited March 2010 in Science & Tech

Comments

  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited February 2010
    The original case was filed in Turin where the uploader and people involved got 10 months community service, which took place in 2006. George left the company in 2008
  • BandrikBandrik Elkhart, IN
    edited February 2010
    Wow... I heard about this case when it initially broke out. I was hoping it would get thrown out, but man am I said it's come this far along. What a pity.

    Certainly immature, but if I were google I would have fun with this one and temporarily block Italy from my services.

    Okay, I wouldn't really do that. But man would it be fun to see the Italian officials squirm when under pressure from the certain public outcry.
  • DrLiamDrLiam British Columbia
    edited February 2010
    All I get from this issue is:
    HIS FAULT! HIS FAULT! *point finger*
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI
    edited February 2010
    It's terribly amusing to me that Italy's willing to let internet service providers off the hook for anything transferred over their services, but are unwilling to let internet content providers off the hook for content they had no hand in publishing.
  • GrimnocGrimnoc Marion, IN
    edited February 2010
    It's terribly amusing to me when governments feel justified in sticking their collective snouts where they don't belong (which is nearly anywhere).
  • WinfreyWinfrey waddafuh Missouri
    edited February 2010
    I find most of this to be terribly not amusing.
  • GrimnocGrimnoc Marion, IN
    edited February 2010
    Winfrey wrote:
    I find most of this to be terribly not amusing.

    Don't worry, my anger is barely constrained. But then again, that's par for the course as soon as 'government' is in the picture. :)
  • Radio91PRadio91P Layton, UT
    edited February 2010
    That is just crazy. Government is rather nice when ya need it though.
  • edited February 2010
    Indeed. People are all so "rah, government is bad!" but then who gets called first when their house gets broken into?
  • edited February 2010
    Don't confuse a limited government that only protects freedom with a massive government that continual grows, takes more an more power, freedoms, money and never gives them back. They are very different things.
  • edited February 2010
    In that case, substitute "they want a road repaired" for "their house gets broken into" in my previous statement. Building roads doesn't fall under "protecting freedom" but if the government didn't do it, who would?
  • NiGHTSNiGHTS San Diego
    edited February 2010
    OH BOY MORE POLITICAL CHATTER! Lets keep it going: we talkin' federal, state, or local government for highway repair?
  • edited February 2010
    *Local* government or private enterprises. I don't want to thread jack, and I'm sure there's plenty of people that don't want to wade through Bindle's political opinions. So I'll poorly summarize by saying that I believe the *Federal* government's only responsibility should be protecting freedom and national defense, that's it. I'm a little more open to having cities build their own roads. The point is, the more power government amasses the more it continues to grow and will never return the power to the people. e.g. Income Tax(temporary), Patriot Act(emergency powers). In this case, I'm tend to be of the opinion that while the Google execs getting charged is stupid, the law the were charged under is stupid to begin with, from what I understand of that law, IANAIL.

    Sorry, I'm done. I'll gladly discuss it further through PM's Ardi, I do love genuinely discussing politics with people. However, I know a lot of people don't want to read this and I don't want to be *that* guy. Nor do I think that an internet forum discussion will achieve much.
  • edited February 2010
    I'm not disagreeing, this decision was monumentally stupid. Calling all government bad is just as monumentally stupid though.

    As for the roads argument, private enterprises wouldn't build them, and even if they did we would end up paying far more in tolls to use the roads than we do now in taxes because they would then be out to not only make their money back but to turn a profit on the roads. If roads were left to cities, what would happen to the rural areas? What about interstate travel? Can you imagine what a cluster fuck would result with each city building roads to their own standards without any larger body specifying, for instance, the size the lanes must be or that traffic had to drive on the right or stop lights had to be red for stop, green for go? What would happen to shipping without a competent interstate system? Local government and private industry had their chance to make these things happen, and yet it took the Federal Government passing the Federal-Aid Highway Act to actually bring about a lot of it. Little to no government may work in a less complex society than ours, but the fact of the matter is humans as a species have advanced to a point where we need a body to organize many of these things for us. That's pretty much the definition of government.
  • edited February 2010
    A.) Private enterprise would build anything that makes money. Including roads. Period.

    B.) It stands to reason, and in accordance with the Invisible Hand of the Market, that passage on privatized roads would cost only as much as potential patrons were willing to pay.

    C.) The simple fact that roads have been built, maintained and regulated by federal authority for as long as any living creature can remember does not mean that this is the only workable option.

    D.) How reasonable can you possibly be if even the thought of an alternative means of road / highway construction, maintenance and regulation sends you into a flurry of dependance upon and vehement defense of the status quo without even a thought given to the presence of options?
  • edited February 2010
    A.) Private enterprise would build anything that makes money. Including roads. Period.
    Therein lies the problem. Whereas the government builds roads because they are in the public interest, private enterprise is looking to turn profit. Thus either
    A) We would end up paying more to use private roads than we do in taxes now as this profit doesn't just appear out of nowhere
    OR
    B) Private enterprise wouldn't build the roads because there would be no profit in it
    B.) It stands to reason, and in accordance with the Invisible Hand of the Market, that passage on privatized roads would cost only as much as potential patrons were willing to pay.
    See above. If patrons weren't willing to pay enough for private enterprise to turn a profit on it, they wouldn't get built. Spreading the cost over the entire population keeps the cost of roads to the individual low. Making it so only those that deem it worth while to pay for the right to use the road have to pay for it would shift most of the burden of the cost of the roads to companies reliant on shipping and a smaller pool of individuals who either choose to or have to use the roads. This would cause 1) the price of goods to skyrocket as the price to move them along the roads would go up and 2) the cost to the individuals who use roads would skyrocket.
    C.) The simple fact that roads have been built, maintained and regulated by federal authority for as long as any living creature can remember does not mean that this is the only workable option.
    There are ~195 countries in the world. If a privatized system of roads was really all that viable, don't you think one of them would have done it by now?

    Further, by having private companies build and maintain the roads, they would essentially own the roads. They could then deny use to any company or individual at their discretion which creates a whole other mess entirely. It simply would not be a viable system.
    D.) How reasonable can you possibly be if even the thought of an alternative means of road / highway construction, maintenance and regulation sends you into a flurry of dependance upon and vehement defense of the status quo without even a thought given to the presence of options?
    As someone who often strays into personal attack, this here seems to sit right on the line of a personal attack. Don't attack my points, just question how reasonable of a person I am instead. I've considered the alternatives. I've discussed matters similar to this with many people on many occasions. There are some things in modern society that, no matter how I look at it or what way it has been presented to me by others, I just don't see a way in which it can be (fully) privatized and work out well. Roads are one of said items.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI
    edited February 2010
    It only stands to reason if you think the Invisible Hand functions perfectly in all scenarios. In reality, transportation-related prices usually do not fall to the optimum for the same reason OPEC can stand to reduce production and increase prices whenever they want - the world needs oil because it needs to move. Toll roads could jack up the rates because they know interstate shipping and business travelers need to pay it. It could start price wars amongst different road owners, causing you to have to recalculate your route cost every time you make the journey. The country needs roads because it needs to move, and it's best served by a uniform, national system so that you don't drive from South Carolina to Kentucky and suddenly end up at a dead end because Kentucky hasn't built their part of the road yet. Whether this national system is public or private is immaterial - it really just needs to be national - but having a single private enterprise in charge of anything nationally is usually dangerous and monopolistic when profit-driven.

    Which drives to my next point - private enterprise will build anything that makes them profit. Quite frequently, they'll make suboptimal choices (for users/customers, not the company) to maximize that profit - including suboptimal building quality, lengthy time between repair, slow improvements and rollouts, etc.

    There are things that capitalism and a limited government do well, but basic infrastructure needs are things well-suited for a government or a private enterprise with government oversight (to limit markups to reasonable levels) that can standardize and organize.

    Here's the kicker: it's the United States of America, not the United Corporations of America (yet). If it shouldn't be left to the states (which it shouldn't, in my view, due to the interconnected nature of the country), then there's naught left to leave it to besides the federal level. They can outsource it if need be, but I'd rather have somebody not profit-minded creating my general infrastructure.
  • edited February 2010
    ardichoke wrote:
    As someone who often strays into personal attack, this here seems to sit right on the line of a personal attack. Don't attack my points, just question how reasonable of a person I am instead.

    Your criticism is just, and well-noted.

    I'm dying to stay and post a full response, but alas a twelve hour shift at work calls to me.

    For now, I'll simply refer any interested parties to one of my favorite articles regarding this topic: Freemarket Transportation: Denationalizing the Roads by Walter Block.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI
    edited February 2010
    Right off the bat, I have a serious problem with any work that says it's the constructor's (government OR private) fault when people kill themselves on the road.

    Out of a measure of respect for you, I'll push through it, but that is irreconcilably dense and false.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI
    edited February 2010
    And finished. I have a number of issues with the paper (and wrote them all down as I was reading it), but I won't pick over a 28-page paper a paragraph at a time. Major issues:

    1) Missing or fallacious logic. Speed and alcohol are deleterious, but the government should (and private enterprise would) prevent them from causing deaths. This is analogous to saying content providers and ISPs should prevent pornography, viruses, spyware, illegal software, etc from ever getting hosted anywhere you could possibly download it. If you hit a pedestrian in a parking garage, do you blame the car for killing them? Do you blame the parking garage for letting it happen? Do you blame the neighborhood for housing the parking garage? It's ludicrous. "Just as we now expect better mousetraps from a private enterprise system which rewards success and penalizes failure, so could we count on a private ownership setup to improve highway safety...." but the author provides no proof or even theories on how it might become true. The author explains 4 or 5 different ways an entrepreneur could prevent a landowner from getting optimal payment for his land (threaten to take a cheaper route, bridge over or tunnel under his plot, play neighbors against each other, build the road anyway to devalue his property), then claims eminent domain is bad because they don't give the owners "prices to which they voluntarily agree."

    2) Needless complexity. A private road system with multiple competitors, according to market forces, should result in a frequently-changing landscape as competitors try to get a leg up on one another. You might get sales - "Go 90mph here until March 2nd!" - and frequently-changing tolls can make you re-evaluate your route weekly to make sure you're still getting the best price. Tunneling under or flying over routes are nice in a competitive sense, but they introduce needless complexity by introducing extra construction and all the disruption that comes with that. Having to work out deals with local competitors over intersections just creates higher cost that gets passed on to consumers.

    3) Uncertainty. You live in a small subdivision where your roads are all owned by one company. I don't know what the heck he was getting at with his indivisibility argument, but a monopoly's a monopoly. And if your road owner goes out of business and somebody snaps it up, quadruples the rate, or denies access to it altogether? What if you get lost in an unfamiliar part of town and come home to a $500 bill? Sucks. Pay up.

    There was so much in there that the author just offers as if it were inherently true, with minimal logic to back it up. At one point, he goes to refute the monopoly spectre, and says there "are two reasons usually given. First, indivisibilities..." and he rambles about indivisibilities, in which his examples bear little to no comparison to a road monopoly, and then conveniently never gets around to whatever his second reason would have been, content with "proving" the first had no basis.

    As an extension of its logic, it also meanders into furthering class separation. At one point, the author states that an entrepreneur "would indeed lose out if his road compiled a poor safety record (assuming that customers desire, and are willing to pay for, safety)." For customers that cannot afford this safety, what then? Higher-income people willing and able to pay for supposedly safer roads get safer roads, and middle- and lower-class people who can't afford it get tossed into the danger zone, raising their risk of death while driving? Will you get better or worse insurance rates based on which roads you take to work, or who owns the neighborhood around your house?
  • edited February 2010
    Snarky has made my argument more eloquently than I could ever hope to. All the points he touched on are bouncing around in my head, it's just organizing them in a coherent matter in text that I always fail at.
  • edited March 2010
    Alrighty, my vacation to the tropical western suburbs of Chicago is now through, and I can return to a now out-dated debate.

    First and foremost, I am encouraged that you read the article Snarkasm, as it shows a level of investment in the train of thought, though I disagree with your appraisal. While Block's initial argument of the responsibility of governing forces to reduce road-side casualties may be painted in colors a bit too bold, it still holds water. Just as any privately managed good or service relies upon responsible and innovative management to achieve excellence, publicly funded and maintained commodities such as roads are no different. The management of road systems are not personally to blame when a drunk driver runs down a herd of infants, but they are held accountable to a degree if the same travesty occurs regularly.
    <O:p</O:p
    To shift the perspective to more familiar grounds, and to exploit my own professional environment, let's take as an example your average visit to the local picture show. If this weekend you decide to view the latest Robert Pattinson film, Remember Me (heaven forbid) and mid-film a baby interrupts your viewing with shrieks of agony akin to those kept silent by every other reasonable person in the audience, you will blame the baby or the parents. However, if you experience the same situation regularly, you will seek out an alternative venue and wonder why the management of that complex won't do something about all those damned crying babies. In an isolated event, the baby/parents are to blame. If the issue continues to plague the venue, you will then discredit the venue and blame poor management. This is just, as only poor management would allow such an occurrence to continue.

    <O:p</O:p
    What difference is there between assigning guilt, at least to a degree, to management of this private institution, and assigning guilt to the management of a legal monopoly of roads that has failed to lower the death-toll accumulated through their service over the course of several years? If roadways were privatized from the start and had earned a similar record of safety, politicians would meet successful election solely upon the platform of government regulations of the roadways.<O:p</O:p
    Long story short, if a parking garage was host to a frequent amount of vehicle-to-pedestrian collisions I would seek out a parking garage that held a collision record that was at least more in favor of my own survival, and I would even be willing to pay a bit more to park there. Ergo, my personal choice as to where my dollar is spent goes to the service provider who offers me the greatest amount of value I am willing to pay for. I have a choice regarding the question of parking garages. I can pay $8 an hour to park in a garage which is a known blood-bath, or I can pay $10 an hour to park in a garage with a record of relative safety. Now, if only road services offered choices at will, rather than forcing the simoleans out of our pockets via taxation enforced at gunpoint.
    <O:p</O:p
    These previous statements lead inherently to the question of how private enterprise could possibly improve upon our road system to the end of reducing road-side casualties as caused by individual irresponsible drivers. If you're looking for specific answers from me on this issue, you'll find yourself disappointed. Sure, I could give you vague ideas for improvement as I think of them straight off the top of my head, but you'll know as well as I that all suggestions are about as well-researched as the lint I pull out of my belly-button every morning. However, pay me a salary to develop, research, and test hypotheses aimed at increased road safety, and I would come up with ideas which could raise your eyebrows, at minimum. You could do the same with similar monetary incentive.
    <O:p</O:p
    This brings me to the central point of the discussion. As the government is decidedly non-profit, those managing its assets stand to gain nothing through above average performance, as their salary and benefits will not alter in response to their success or failure overall. If the status-quo is maintained, the individual cash-flow is maintained. Where, then, is our savior, human innovation, to take its seat when necessity for survival or even necessity for comfort are removed? Why work harder than you have to when you have nothing palpable to gain from doing so?
    <O:p</O:p
    This is the essential difference between the management of public assets versus private assets. Public assets are run only to the extent that they may at least have grounds to justify their existence, while private assets must struggle and innovate every day in an effort to outstrip competition and please consumers more than "the other guy."
    <O:p</O:p
    To throw out one easy example of these thoughts, I'll reference a walking-talking instance of private enterprise triumphing against stacked odds to achieve an admirable profit. Profit, aka, customer satisfaction.
    <O:p</O:p
    The USPS holds a government-sanctioned monopoly on first-class letters. In addition, the USPS deals in the package delivery market and every other class of mail delivery. UPS and FedEx are federally banned from entering the market of first-class letters, but thrive on overwhelming profits through focus on the delivery of package and parcel alone. Meanwhile, the USPS (given the overwhelming advantage of a monopolized market) fails year after year to achieve financial solvency. They just can't seem to turn that red ink to black.
    <O:p</O:p
    Private enterprise stands to gain from its efforts, thus private enterprise is driven to excel to a degree exponentially greater than any enterprise which is barred from increased personal gain.<O:p</O:p
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI
    edited March 2010
    Fedex and UPS don't deliver everywhere in the United States, and don't do it 6 days a week in all weather. Meanwhile, they'll happily charge you $13 for 3-day shipping on a single piece of paper, and the USPS usually handles that for $0.35 (or whatever the going rate for stamps is right about now) - slightly more if you ask for receipt confirmation, signature, and tracking... maybe $5.

    I cannot get my head around any option that private enterprise has over government service with regards to transportation that doesn't result in A) discrimination, B) reckless endangerment, C) abandoned routes, D) higher payments, or E) any or all (or more!) of the above. Show me a capitalist enterprise free of regulation that has improved on public options without significant service cost rises or cut corners and I'll be happy to debate it a little while longer. Obvious counterexamples: health insurance, recent banking fiascos, national defense...

    I still find it laughable that anybody would blame road owners for people being retarded on them. If you want to complain about why the management doesn't keep the screaming toddlers out of the theater, I suggest you contact your local government and ask them why they don't put more cops out to keep order on the road and stop looking all the way up at the federal government as if you're asking Star Cinema's CEO why he can't shut those kids up.
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