In February 2017, the Colombian Constitutional Court issued a ruling that could have serious consequences for the exercise of the right to freedom of expression on the Internet. The Court decided to grant a writ of amparo in favor of a citizen (owner of a furniture company) who requested that Google Inc. and Google Ltda. eliminate from the digital platform Blogger an anonymous blog in which he was accused of being a “swindler” who stole money from his clients.
The Constitutional Court agreed with the plaintiff and ordered Google Inc. to delete the blog, in order to protect his rights to good name, honor and privacy. He also ordered Google Inc. and Google Ltda. to register as providers of telecommunication services in the registry of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies, and he urged the latter to establish a national regulation in order to protect the rights of Internet users against publications that violate their honor. Additionally, the Court warned Google that in cases where anonymous blogs hosted on Blogger publish defamatory content that is reported, the content should be eliminated without there being a prior judicial order.
Google Inc. and Google Colombia Ltda. filed a nullity incident against this ruling, which is pending before the Constitutional Court at this time. In the context of this nullity incident, Catalina Botero and Carlos Cortés presented the following amicus brief, with the purpose of contributing to the nullity request initiated against the judicial ruling.
As argued throughout this document, the ruling of the Constitutional Court ignored its own precedents regarding the role of intermediaries on the Internet, violates the rights to freedom of expression and due process of Internet users and if it consolidates as a precedent, it could have a serious impact on the free functioning of the Internet.