News: My buddy Doug Berman has already blogged about this interesting story involving YouTube and criminal sentencing. Two teenagers in Florida pulled a “fire in the hole” prank at a Taco Bell. Basically, the kids went through the drive-thru and then, before leaving, threw a soda at the employee through the window, yelling “fire in the hole.” The boys captured the prank on video and posted it on YouTube.
Well, the Taco Bell employee did some great detective work on YouTube and then located the boys on MySpace and then called their mothers. According to the news report, “as part of their sentence, the teens had to write, film, and post their video apology on YouTube, as well as pay $30 to clean the restaurant and serve 100 hours of community service.”
The Taco Bell employee said that she wants a face-to-face apology, however.
Here’s the apology:
My friend told me about this interesting Internet project started by the Center for Court Innovation, a nonprofit think tank seeking “to promote justice system reform in the US and abroad.” The Center is using YouTube to spread word about its project. In this video, the Center relates personal stories related to drug addicts in New York who are trying to pull their lives together.
The Center’s YouTube channel can be found on this link.
To be honest, I was surprised by the audio. I found it more helpful to Senator Craig’s side than the police’s, at least after all the negative media portrayal of what happened. Throughout the police interview, Senator Craig maintains his innocence. His story sounded at least halfway plausible. If I were on a jury, I would like to hear some testimony from several witnesses proving the meaning of the putative “bathroom signals” to solicit sex. That would have been crucial to the prosecution’s case, had this gone to trial.
News: Report from New Westminster, Canada. YouTube is becoming an important law enforcement tool.
News: YouTube is becoming a popular law enforcement tool, at least in Canada. Here’s another video of “persons of interest” in a homicide case.
News: YouTube spokesperson Jaime Schopflin said that YouTube has removed (another copy of) the video of Daniela Cicarelli having sex on the beach with her boyfriend. Yesterday, a Brazilian court ordered YouTube to stop service in Brazil unless it removed all video clips of Brazilian model Daniela Cicarelli having sex on the beach. YouTube had removed the sex video before, but another copy (if not copies) resurfaced on YouTube after being uploaded by YouTube user(s). The case in Brazil reportedly will go to a 3-judge court, which will determine the extent of penalty on YouTube (up to $119,000 per day) for the period in which the video was on YouTube in spite of the lower court’s order. (More from SJ Mercury News)
Analysis: Let’s hope this puts an end to the entire affair.
Off topic, but, if you have time, check out this restaurant review:
And this interview of Toobla.com:
News: Amnesty International has condemned the execution of Saddam Hussein and the release of the video of the hanging. That’s not all. Amnesty International has taken a pot shot at YouTube. “Welcome to the sordid world of the execution chamber, brought to you by the YouTube generation,” Amnesty International reportedly said. (more from The Independent)
Analysis: OK, sorry, I’m still posting on this topic, but the reference to YouTube was too hard to leave alone. I think the reference is a bit unfair, but it does make me wonder whether YouTube should be allowing hundreds and hundreds of Saddam Hussein hanging videos on its site.
News: CNN reports that Iraqi officials have detained the security guard who shot video from his cellphone of Saddam Hussein’s hanging. Apparently, several guards taunted Hussein just before he was about to be hanged. According to CNN, the exchange took place as follows:
After Hussein offers prayers, the guards shout praise for Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric whose father is believed to have been murdered by Hussein’s regime.
They chant, “Muqtada! Muqtada! Muqtada!”
Hussein smiles. “Is this how you show your bravery as men?” he asks.
“Straight to hell,” someone shouts back at him.
“Is this the bravery of Arabs?” Hussein asks.
A sole voice is heard trying to silence the taunts.
“Please, I am begging you not to,” the unknown man [the chief prosecutor] says. “The man is being executed.”
Analysis: I thought I could avoid talking about this topic, but the newsworthiness of the issue deserves some comment. I have not watched the execution video, nor do I intend to. But I do find it somewhat ironic for the Iraqi officials now to be worried about how Saddam Hussein was treated on video. After all, the man was about to be hanged by official state sentence. And, at least according to my understanding, Iraqi officials had planned on allowing a release of video of the execution, so people there could witness it (whether as proof of death or sign of atonement). The fact that a guard took his own video on his cell phone, with others and perhaps himself taunting Hussein, might have been improper, but it probably only added insult to injury (the execution). And if atonement is one of the purposes of a public execution, then you might have to expect even some taunting of a man sentenced to die. True, probably not from a security guard, but the new Iraqi government probably hasn’t had that much time to train its security force.
The Pandora’s box was opened when Iraqi officials allowed any video taping of Saddam’s execution in the first place. Once Pandora’s box was opened, it was foreseeable that a guard or bystander might video the execution on his cellphone, or that hundreds of video clips of Hussein’s execution (including some that may be only spoofs) would find their way onto YouTube and other sites. This is probably all I’ll say on the topic, since it’s way beyond my expertise.