Italy’s courts have rendered a highly controversial decision against internet search giant Google. The case was over a video posted on Google Video of an autistic teenager being bullied. Under Italian law, this is highly illegal, and the executives in question – Peter Fleischer, David Drummond, George De Los Reyes, and Arvind Desikan – were originally charged with defamation against the teen.
The presiding judge over the case, Oscar Magi, dropped the charges regarding defamation. However, all but Desikan recieved six-month sentences for privacy violations. Drummond is the chief legal officer at Google and has stated he was “outraged” by the verdict. And he makes a valid point with his full statement:
“I intend to vigorously appeal this dangerous ruling. It sets a chilling precedent… If individuals like myself and my Google colleagues who had nothing to do with the harassing incident, its filming or its uploading onto Google Video can be held criminally liable solely by virtue of our position at Google, every employee of any internet hosting service faces similar liability.”
This blogger wholeheartedly agrees. Google did the right thing; it provides a relatively open hosting space, but the second the video was brought to its attention, the video was removed. The very openness of the internet is under attack by this verdict and it creates an impossible standard for content providers to live by.
Via BBC News, image via Google.