Google Employees Stand Trial in Italy for Video

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

  • jcknouse
    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.
  • Major7up
    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.
  • jellico
    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.
  • foody
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • wayneepalmer
    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.
  • omnimodis78
    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!
  • warmon6
    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.
  • leafman420
    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.