Pretty amazing that YouTube is playing such a central role in the battles in North Africa and the Middle East. And of course Twitter. A few notes on what's happening.
1. The rioters in Egypt and Yemen say they're incensed by the video. I haven't seen it myself and I don't need or want to. Much of what's there is crap and highly insulting to someone. I'm sure some of the rioters are sincere. I'm equally sure some of the rioters are no more sincere that the American assholes who look for excuses to get "angry." They're not really angry. They're just using some pretense to try to violently and unfairly shore up their own power, in a highly undemocratic fashion.
2. Clearly some of the people on the "Arab street" -- whatever that is -- are being manipulated. They need to understand that not only do we have free speech in the US, there's no guarantee that any video on YouTube actually came from the US. It could have come from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. If not this time, next time. Now that they see how powerful YouTube can be at stirring up mobs, it will be used again and again.
3. The solution is not to censor YouTube, the solution is for the citizens of the new democracies in the Middle East to get clued-in, fast -- to how they're being used. Use your own free speech to expose the assholes. Your assholes, not ours.
4. We should get rid of any premise in press reports that the rioters are upset about the film. The only thing we know is that they are attacking the US embassies. Are they really so stupid as to believe that the US produced the film? Shouldn't the press check that out before reporting the premise as fact. Could this possibly be some great drama whose purpose is to impose censorship on YouTube? It seems the press has a small conflict of interest here.
5. This is what I mean about tech and politics being inseparable. That the political and tech blogospheres are divided makes the whole thing much weaker. There aren't any divisions any more.
6. On a similar topic, Twitter decided to turn over the tweets of an OWS protestor. It's about time. Either tweets are public or they are not. Twitter needs to answer that question, very clearly. I thought they were public. Just like blog posts. If they're not, Twitter needs to clear this up right now. By not turning over the archive when asked for it, what pretense did they offer? I honestly don't know. Some sense of privacy? Tweets are the opposite of private.