Sentencing of Thai webmaster threatens Internet, Google says

The company gives its two cents on a ruling that held the webmaster responsible for someone else’s comments

Say what you will about Google, they love Internet freedom. The Internet giant has weighed in on a case in Thailand focusing on a webmaster who did not promptly remove from a news website comments that disparaged Thai royalty.

Bangkok Criminal Court found the webmaster, Chiranuch Premchaiporn, guilty because she “did not perform her duty in a timely manner,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The court was particularly perturbed by one post that remained on the site for 20 days. Chiranuch said that the ruling was “logical and reasonable.” She had faced up to 20 years for her transgression, but the court finally settled on an eight-month suspended sentence.

Google injected a dose of sanity into the discourse around the case, pointing out that if a webmaster can be held responsible for something someone else says on their website, the Internet as we know it is in danger.

“The precedent set today is bad for Thai businesses, users and the innovative potential of Thailand’s Internet economy,” Taj Meadows, Google’s Asia Pacific spokesman said in an email.

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