Feeds

Italian prosecutors seek jail time for Google execs

Mountain View in hot water over 'defamation' video

Security for virtualized datacentres

Italian prosecutors are pushing for Google execs to be jailed in a case over an internet video that showed the bullying of a teenager with Down's Syndrome.

In September 2006, someone posted a three-minute mobile phone video to Google's Italian website in which four Turin teenagers make fun of a classmate with Down's Syndrome.

In July 2008, after two years of investigation, Italian authorities filed criminal charges against four Google execs: chief legal officer David Drummond, chief privacy officer Peter Fleischer, senior product marketing manager Arvind Desikanand and chief financial officer George Reyes, who has since left the company.

Judicial sources told Reuters yesterday that Milan public prosecutors are calling on Google's execs to be jailed. They accuse the four men of defamation and failure to exercise control over personal data in the case, which was brought following a complaint from Italian Down's Syndrome advocacy group, Vivi Down, and the boy's father.

The video in question showed a 17-year-old boy with Down's Syndrome being repeatedly hit over the head with a box of tissues by four other 17-year-olds. It was uploaded on 8 September, 2006, and almost a month later, Google received two takedown notices - one from an individual user and one from the Italian Ministry.

Prosecutors argued that there was a need to "safeguard fundamental rights" and that companies should be held responsible for making available such material on the internet.

They are pushing for sentences ranging from six months to a year to be handed down to the four Google execs, with the next hearing due on 16 December.

Google gave The Register this statement:

"It doesn't matter whether it's an American or an Italian company; large corporation, or small - the issue at stake in this courtroom affects all internet companies and all internet users. We did exactly what is required under European and Italian law. We took the video down when notified by the authorities and, thanks to our cooperation, the bullies who recorded and uploaded the video have been identified and punished.

"This prosecution is akin to prosecuting mail service employees for hate speech letters sent in the post. Seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open internet and could spell the end of Web 2.0 in Italy." ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.