Google Will Appeal Employee Convictions in Italian Court
Google plans on appealing the convictions of three of its employees in Italian court, after a judge in Milan ruled that the search-engine giant was responsible for a 2006 video clip, posted to Google Video's Italian site, showing three Turin high school students bullying a teenager with Down syndrome. Google is arguing that the Italian legal system holding a neutral hosting platform liable for user content represents a threat to the fundamental concept of a free and open Internet. All three Google employees received prison sentences of up to six months, although reports indicate that those sentences will likely be suspended.Google plans to appeal the conviction of three of its employees in an Italian privacy-invasion case, according to the company's official blog, which also railed against Judge Oscar Magi's Feb. 24 ruling as possibly detrimental to Internet freedom. At issue in the case was whether a 191-second video of four Turin high school students bullying a teenager with Down syndrome, posted to Google Video's Italian site in September 2006, was ultimately Google's responsibility to police and remove. While Google removed that video and issued a public statement expressing sympathy with the victim, Milan public prosecutor Francesco Cajani argued that the search-engine giant nonetheless faced criminal liability for allowing the video onto the site, which no longer exists.
The Google employees convicted of invasion of privacy include Chief Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer, former Chief Financial Officer George Reyes, and Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond. All men face six-month sentences. A fourth defendant, Senior Product Marketing Manager Arvind Desikan, was acquitted by the court.