Feeds

Italian prosecutors seek jail time for Google execs

Mountain View in hot water over 'defamation' video

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?