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Google Executives Face Jail Time For Video

Category: Internet
Posted: 05:55AM

Four Google executives are on trial today in Milan, Italy over a video that was published to Google Video in 2006. If found guilt, they could face jail time for a video that they were not involved directly in handling. Yes, the are facing personal criminal charges and possible jail time, for something they didn't do.

According to a Google spokesman, three of the executives being charged are David Drummond, Google’s senior VP and chief legal officer; George Reyes, former CFO; and Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel. The fourth executive worked at Google Video in London, however the person's name has not been identified.

The video in question was posted to Google Video in 2006 and shows four kids in Turin, Italy harassing another kid that suffers from Down Syndrome. The video was removed from the site after an Italian advocacy group complained about the video. Prosecutors are arguing that the video should never have been published in the first place. Do they really expect sites that allow users submitted content to be screened first? In my opinion, the system worked as it should; The video was reported and removed. If any legal charges are justified here, they should not be directed at Google, but rather the kids that did the harassment or their parents.

Google issued a statement on the matter:

"As we have repeatedly made clear, our hearts go out to the victim and his family. We are pleased that as a result of our cooperation the bullies in the video have been identified and punished. We feel that bringing this case to court is totally wrong. It’s akin to prosecuting mail service employees for hate speech letters sent in the post. What’s more, seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet. We will continue to vigorously defend our employees in this prosecution."

If the court rules against Google in this case, it could have a strong impact on any site that allows photos and videos to be published. Not just sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Flickr but also blog, personal sites, and even sites like OverclockersClub.com.

Source: New York Times via Mashable

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Waco on February 3, 2009 10:41AM
This story is just ludicrous. I can't believe they're going to take Google to court over this.
Guest comment
Jan Cedar on February 3, 2009 10:04PM
I think this is taking the boundaries of politically correct over the edge. Surely the judge will say it's a frivolous case and toss it on the first day. Did anyone see the updated Google Earth which now features underwater geography? If Google meant to harm people intentionally we wouldn't see them doing so much to help improve people's lives. Far more people with Down's Syndrome are helped by the many Google videos that show them how to make the most of their lives, how could a case such as this one ever find itself before a judge?
d3bruts1d on February 4, 2009 02:44AM
People are only after money these days, they will do whatever and sue whomever they can for some quick cash. I thought stuff like that only happened in the US, but apparently it's going on elsewhere... well, at least in Italy.

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