Google Blogoscoped

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Google Employees Facing Charges in Italy Over YouTube Video

MrBene in the forum writes:

While he was in Italy to deliver a talk, Google’s Privacy [Counsel] Peter Fleischer was picked up by officials to answer to charges of defamation and failure to exercise control over personal data due to a video posted on YouTube in 2006.

The video was taken down within 24 hours of the receipt of the take down notice, as is required by an Internet service provider, but Italian public prosecutors are considering YouTube to be an Internet content provider.

The IAPP (International Association of Privacy Professionals) reports that “Peter Fleischer was on his way into the University of Milan for a speaking engagement January 23, 2008 when five law enforcement officials with summonses surrounded him.” They write:

The charges follow a two-year investigation by Italian authorities into footage uploaded onto Google Video that showed a disabled teen being disparaged by peers. Google’s Paris-based Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer and three other executives charged in the case will appear before the Criminal Court of Milan on February 3. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 36 months. (...)

The video that sparked the investigation was captured in a Turin classroom. Four high school boys were recorded taunting a young man with Down syndrome, ultimately hitting the 17-year-old with a tissue box.

I asked Google for a statement, and they say:

As we have repeatedly made clear, our hearts go out to the victim and his family. We are pleased that as a result of our co-operation the bullies in the video have been identified and punished. However, we feel that bringing this case to court is totally wrong. It’s akin to prosecuting mail service employees for hate speech letters sent in the post. What’s more, seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet. We will continue to vigorously defend our employees in this prosecution.

[Thanks MrBene!]

Google Employees Facing C ... by Philipp Lenssen | Comments (1+4)


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!