Surprising EU court ruling holds websites responsible for reader comments

eu court human rights liable euchr
The Internet is going through a teething period at the moment, where it straddles between the wild west of yesteryear, with whatever it will be tomorrow. To help figure out what that is, we need to decide to what extent websites are responsible for the comments of their users. In the opinion of the European Court of Human Rights (EUCHR), their responsibility is significant, as its latest ruling on the matter has made a news site accountable for some of the statements posted by its users.

This decision by the court is noteworthy since it is opposed to the European Union’s protections for E-Commerce, which as Ars points out, “guarantees liability protection from intermediaries,” as long as they implement a notice-takedown system.

This ruling has divided commentators, with some suggesting that this is the beginning of the end of web freedoms, since it provides a precedent for other cases, while others believe this is a happy middle ground, where the site simply didn’t take enough action to delete the comments. It’s a difficult line that needs to be toed by everyone involved, ourselves included.

The real problem with any decisions like the one taken by the EUCHR, is that whether sites should bear some responsibility or not, enforcing it is difficult. Reported comments can be investigated, but on what scale? Should administrators merely miss a post that is deemed offensive or hateful, is negligence as punishable as allowing that content to be posted in the first place?

Fortunately for those concerned, the European Court of Human Rights has limited legal jurisdiction. Its ruling in this case cannot be used to change national or international law. It may be cited by lawyers, though, and the fact that this ruling was reached by many of the court’s 47 member states hints at the climate of opinion in the region.

Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.

PewDiePie supporters hack printers, hope to boost his subscription numbers

In an attempt to garner more subscribers for their favorite vlogger and secure his status as having the most YouTube subscribers, PewDiePie supporters claimed to have hacked thousands of printers worldwide.

Chrome fights manipulative sites that don’t allow you to hit the back button

Have you encountered a webpage that won't let you hit the back button? Someun scrupulous websites employ what's known as history manipulation, preventing you from hitting the back button, but now Google Chrome will be fighting back.

Forget painting-style transfers, this A.I. creates realistic portraits of fake people

Do these images look computer-generated? Nvidia researchers recently published a paper on a new variation on style transfer artificial intelligence that's able to generate entirely new portraits.

With our Steam guide, you can give the gift of gaming this holiday season

The holidays may have passed, but it's always a good time to give the gift of gaming (especially when there's a Steam sale)! Here's our quick guide on how to give a Steam game as a gift.

Leaked HP laptop listing reveals entry-level Nvidia MX250 GPU

Alongside powerful graphics cards, Nvidia may have more mobile GPUs to show off at next year's CES show in January. The MX250 has been spotted in a listing for an HP laptop, potentially replacing the entry-level MX150.

ZSpace’s laptop brings education to life with its own 3D technology

The ZSpace laptop wants to overhaul education and training by offering affordable access to 3D mixed reality through a bespoke screen and glasses technology that is already supported by a wide array of applications.

Former Microsoft intern claims Google may have sabotaged Edge browser

Google's Chrome web browser has been able to establish such dominance that Microsoft is abandoning its web rendering engine, switching Edge over to Chromium, but did Google play dirty in an attempt to force Microsoft to make the decision?

ViewSonic’s 1080p gaming monitor lets you experience the action in style

ViewSonic is catering to gamers with its latest monitor, the XG240R. Featuring a 1080p 144Hz panel, RGB lighting, and a fast 1ms response time, you can conquer your opponents and do it in style.

Here’s why you might still be using Wi-Fi after cellular 5G launches

Cellular 5G might be around the corner and promising to deliver lightning fast speeds, but the folks over at the Wi-Fi Alliance have a few reasons why they think you shouldn't dump Wi-Fi just yet.

Pinning websites to your taskbar is as easy as following these quick steps

Would you like to know how to pin a website to the taskbar in Windows 10 in order to use browser links like apps? Whichever browser you're using, it's easier than you might think. Here's how to get it done.