The Christian Coalition joined Google’s Save the Internet coalition after being convinced that the Internet’s lack of regulation was a danger to their free speech. The free speech argument is a red herring, of course, as the enhanced IPTV services from AT&T and Verizon that are bringing change to the Internet have nothing to do with content or viewpoints. The Save the Internet movement is really a cynical ploy on Google’s part to shackle ISPs in order to extend their search hegemony into video delivery. But Save the Internet says it’s really important, so we have to trust Google to preserve free speech because we can’t trust the Telcos and ISPs.
Is this remotely believable?
We’ve seen one example of Google’s concept of free speech in China, and another regarding their own Vice-President of TV, Vincent Dureau. After he correctly observed that the Internet can’t scale to HDTV, Google called out its Public Relations shock troops to sanitize Dureau’s remarks. The Google PR team is spinning like mad, but Dureau hasn’t backed down and we applaud him for that.
And now we have another egregious free speech violation that should be of interest to Google’s followers among the Christian Coalition. Nick Gisburne is an atheist activist who posts videos on YouTube criticizing religion generally and religious texts in particular. His favorite technique is citing violent passages from the Holy Books without commentary, letting them hang themselves. This was fine with YouTube as long as Gisburne confined his criticisms to Christianity, but when he posted a video of verses from the Koran, YouTube deleted it and cancelled his account:
My YouTube accounts have been deleted
Deleted accounts are not quite part of the plan! This is now a censorship issue.
My NickGisburne and Gisburne2000 accounts were deleted because of ‘Inappropriate Content’, basically a video of material (no added commentary from me) from the Qur’an. I added nothing to that video, I was merely using material from the Muslim Holy Book, and for that I was removed from YouTube, along with all my videos, and everyone’s subscriptions to me (over 500).
I’ve seen the video in question and Gisburne’s description is correct: it consists of nothing but verses from the Koran and background music, without even a word of added commentary.
So the question, gentle reader, is this: can we trust Google to manage our Internet? I see no reason to believe that we can.
See Instapundit for a handy collection of relevant links.