Google Employees Convicted in Italy

February 24, 2010

In late 2006, students at a school in Turin, Italy filmed and then uploaded a video to Google Video that showed them bullying an autistic schoolmate. The video was taken down by Google within hours of it being notified by the Italian police. Google then worked with the local police to help identify the person responsible for uploading it. She was subsequently sentenced to 10 months community service by a court in Turin, as were several other classmates who were also involved.

The public prosecutor in Milan decided to indict four Google employees —David Drummond, Arvind Desikan, Peter Fleischer and George Reyes for criminal defamation and a failure to comply with the Italian privacy code.

On 24 February, a judge in Milan convicted David Drummond, Peter Fleischer and George Reyes for failure to comply with the Italian privacy code. This is in essence a criminal offence. All four employees were found not guilty of criminal defamation.

Google have stated that ‘this ruling means that employees of hosting platforms like Google Video are criminally responsible for content that users upload. We will appeal this astonishing decision because the Google employees on trial had nothing to do with the video in question. Throughout this long process, they have displayed admirable grace and fortitude. It is outrageous that they have been subjected to a trial at all’.

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