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Google Employees Stand Trial in Italy for Video

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 28 comments

Four Google employees today stood trial in Milan for allegedly breaking Italian law.

David Carl Drummond, head of Google Italy's managing board; George De Los Reyes, a board member; Peter Fleitcher, in charge of privacy protection in Europe; and Arvind Desikan, head of videos for Europe stood trial in Milan, Italy on charges of criminal defamation and violation of privacy.

The case is a result of a video uploaded to Google’s Video service in 2006. Showing several teenage boys teases a boy with Down's Syndrome, the video remained online for nearly two months before it was removed. Despite the fact that Google removed the video within 24 hours of receiving a request to have it taken down, advocacy groups claim the video should never have been posted to the site at all and in allowing it to appear online, Google violated the boy’s privacy.

Google argues that its cooperation led to the bullies being punished and likens the case to someone blaming the mailman for delivering hate mail. The search giant said seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet.

The BBC reports that a Google engineer today took the stand to give evidence that aimed to prove Google had not committed any crime.

The trial has been subjected to several delays. Scheduled to begin on February 4, proceedings were then delayed until February 18. Parties were supposed to appear in court again in June but proceedings were delayed until September because a translator was ill. If the four men are convicted, the case could change the way sites like YouTube operate

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  • 25 Hide
    Major7up , September 30, 2009 7:25 PM
    I don't think Google did anything wrong here. As big as Google is, they cannot possibly pre-screen every video that comes in by having a human review them. There just isn't enough man power for than and it is unreasonable to expect this anyway. So when they respond to a take-down notice as quickly as they did, they acted reasonably. If anything, having the video on there as long as it was only served to show how uncompassionate and reckless the bullies were. If Google is found guilty I will be upset at what the ruling could mean elsewhere.
  • 19 Hide
    jcknouse , September 30, 2009 7:24 PM
    This is just stupid.

    Punish the boys who abused/taunted the mentally retarded kid.

    That's the crime.

    If they have never taken that kid in public, that would be an invasion of his privacy.

    However, someone responsible for the care of the child let those people around him with a video camera. That's the person responsible for letting such an act be filmed and put on YouTube.

    If Youtube took it down in a timely fashion after they received the request, that's all they can do.

    The comparison used is kinda off though. YouTube is more like a public bulletin board at your local library.

    Someone can always stick up a dirty picture or obscene writing there. But, YouTube can't be there every second and see every action someone takes in posting. That's beyond reasonable expectation with the millions of submissions they get.
  • 19 Hide
    jellico , September 30, 2009 7:26 PM
    The 21st century version of, "Kill the messenger." All in the name of social justice. I'm pretty damn tired of people who barely know how to access the Internet being able to exercise power of others who use it.
Other Comments
  • 19 Hide
    jcknouse , September 30, 2009 7:24 PM
    This is just stupid.

    Punish the boys who abused/taunted the mentally retarded kid.

    That's the crime.

    If they have never taken that kid in public, that would be an invasion of his privacy.

    However, someone responsible for the care of the child let those people around him with a video camera. That's the person responsible for letting such an act be filmed and put on YouTube.

    If Youtube took it down in a timely fashion after they received the request, that's all they can do.

    The comparison used is kinda off though. YouTube is more like a public bulletin board at your local library.

    Someone can always stick up a dirty picture or obscene writing there. But, YouTube can't be there every second and see every action someone takes in posting. That's beyond reasonable expectation with the millions of submissions they get.
  • 25 Hide
    Major7up , September 30, 2009 7:25 PM
    I don't think Google did anything wrong here. As big as Google is, they cannot possibly pre-screen every video that comes in by having a human review them. There just isn't enough man power for than and it is unreasonable to expect this anyway. So when they respond to a take-down notice as quickly as they did, they acted reasonably. If anything, having the video on there as long as it was only served to show how uncompassionate and reckless the bullies were. If Google is found guilty I will be upset at what the ruling could mean elsewhere.
  • 19 Hide
    jellico , September 30, 2009 7:26 PM
    The 21st century version of, "Kill the messenger." All in the name of social justice. I'm pretty damn tired of people who barely know how to access the Internet being able to exercise power of others who use it.
  • 0 Hide
    foody , September 30, 2009 7:34 PM
    It doesn't seem like an invasion of privacy to me. I would assume everybody that knows him, knows he has Down's Syndrome. Though, if you had never talked to him you might not know this. A case such as this doesn't seem personal to me because it is generally apparent that somebody with Down's Syndrome has Down's Syndrome or something similar. It would be different if the boy had AIDS or another ailment that you wouldn't know about unless told otherwise.

    Still, I'm glad the video was finally removed but I don't see Google's fault in the situation.
  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , September 30, 2009 7:35 PM
    tsss... Right is wrong and wrong is right... Welcome to the future, where justice like we knew exists no more, and home owner gets charged for attacking an armed burglar who tried to steal goods out of the homeowner's own home.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , September 30, 2009 7:36 PM
    What about all those Islamic terrorists? They also use sites like google video's or youtube to post their hate messages!
    Sure, blame google for everything!
  • 2 Hide
    wayneepalmer , September 30, 2009 7:54 PM
    I wonder what important douche bag was the father of one (or more) of the little abortion-poster-children who abused the disabled kid?

    Its usually relatively rich, powerful, scumbags (who've already got the world on a platinum platter) who trash on the defenseless folks for kicks figuring (usually rightly) that their position in society gives them the right to be evil to others.
  • 0 Hide
    omnimodis78 , September 30, 2009 7:55 PM
    I agree, Google cannot possibly be blamed for the act itself, or for not removing the content immediately; however, 2 months is a long time, and no doubt Google needs to come up with a procedure which can somehow prevent such incidents from reoccuring. How about a simple solution of a video getting 10 thumbs down and the video gets automatically flagged, and an actual submission of a complaint bumps it up the list... I'm sure that video would have been on the top of the list in no time!
  • 1 Hide
    warmon6 , September 30, 2009 8:06 PM
    i agree with everyone else. google cant be held for something like this. Now if google uploaded the video them self that's different but it not. There just not enough man power to look though all these video's being submitted everyday. We would need like 1/2 the world population just to monitor the incoming video's.
  • 1 Hide
    leafman420 , September 30, 2009 8:09 PM
    OK I see how it's wrong to post the video, but what abut the ppl how watched it for 2 months and didn't report it, or like some have said the person in charge for the individual. I really can't see how it is Google fault, but I'm sure this is mostly for money.
    Sue the one with money. LOL I say we all just let the world go and don't give a crap abut them like they don't give a crap abut us.
  • 5 Hide
    hellwig , September 30, 2009 8:26 PM
    Seriously, this is almost as bad as kids video-taping themselves beating-up the homeless. What is wrong with parents these days? Why are modern parents incapable of teaching their children proper manners and respect? I never beat up a homeless man or made fun of a handicapped individual, and I certainly never thought to video tape it and post it to YouTube (not that YouTube existed back then).

    Blaming Google is stupid. These kids would have abused that handicapped kid either way, at least they incriminated themselves posting the video on YouTube. Imagine how much abuse goes on every day that isn't caught and isn't punished? The stupider criminals are (especially if they think they can post it to YouTube without repercussions), the fewer of them will be around in the long run.
  • 3 Hide
    p00dl3_h3r0 , September 30, 2009 8:46 PM
    wayneepalmerI wonder what important douche bag was the father of one (or more) of the little abortion-poster-children who abused the disabled kid?Its usually relatively rich, powerful, scumbags (who've already got the world on a platinum platter) who trash on the defenseless folks for kicks figuring (usually rightly) that their position in society gives them the right to be evil to others.


    I agrees on that, but I honestly think that somebody figured out that those idiots DON'T have any money, so Google is naturally the next in line for lawsuit revenue. Its really disgusting what happened, bur even if the messenger is wealthy it doesn't mean you can honestly expect to sue him. Its the age of the internet people. Get with the times and stop trying to use a couple logs of old-school mentality lashed together to stop the hurricane of information being pumped out on a daily basis.
  • 4 Hide
    wildwell , September 30, 2009 8:46 PM
    This sounds like an attempt to get Google to settle out of court... $$$.
  • 0 Hide
    nachowarrior , September 30, 2009 9:06 PM
    you mean to tell me that i can sue the mailman for deli\/ering hate mail?!!?!
  • 0 Hide
    SAL-e , September 30, 2009 9:39 PM
    Well. This case is very bad. Either way we (the Internet users) will lose.
    1. Google is looking for protection based on so called "Common Carrier" principles. The problem for them is that they have forfeited their right by building tools and assisting Entertainment Industry to monitor and issue automatic take down notices even in the cases of fair use. Now they will have to comply with any ridiculous demand or go to court. As result we going to end up with heavily censored Internet. We are loosing our freedom.
    2. The court don't hold Google liable and proves that justest is bought with money. If you have money like Hollywood or Google you get what you want and everybody else get screwed.
  • 0 Hide
    rallende , September 30, 2009 9:58 PM
    cruiseoverideI think Google should be fined at the very least to get them to wake up an think about personal information and privacy more carefully. Sure its like hating a mail man for delivering hate mail. Pretend you're a mail man, and I give you a bomb, in plain sight, and ask you to give it to my neighbour, are you going to do it? Are you even going to touch it? Why not? Is it dangerous?I think Google should have the level of professionalism by now to know when something is dangerous or not.


    Fine them for what exactly? you left us no basis for what the actual fine is for. Your mailman example has no relevance here because unlike the mailman that handed that plain sighted bomb, YouTube really doesn't see every video passed until someone goes, "Oh no, this is wrong. Jim contact Google for removal."
  • 1 Hide
    surfer1337dude , September 30, 2009 11:43 PM
    Sal-e: Im sorry to have to tell you this, but the whole if you have money deal has been proven many times.

    But I do hope that Google wins. I think that too many innocent companies/people are being sued for no good reason (Google did remove the video when someone complained, and helped to get the people teasing the kid caught).
  • 0 Hide
    surfer1337dude , September 30, 2009 11:47 PM
    PS: cruiseoveride: Are you being serious? That comparison is ridiculous. Your comparison shows that the mailman knows about it, while Google had no idea until someone complained about the video at which point they did something about it by removing it (doing the professional and correct thing).
  • 0 Hide
    pythy , October 1, 2009 1:56 AM
    Did the prosecutors from the pirate bay case move to Italy now?
    And is this the new trend these days, just blame the middle man for all the original crimes?
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