Google execs face jail over bullying video
An Italy prosecutor has asked an appeals court to uphold jail sentences for three Google executives charged with violating the privacy of an Italian boy with autism by letting a video of him being bullied be posted on the site in 2006.
"Not only has the privacy of minors been violated but lessons of cruelty have been given to 500 visitors," Milan prosecutor Laura Bertole Viale said at the appeals hearing.
Four students at a Turin school uploaded a mobile phone clip to Google Video in 2006 showing them bullying the boy. The prosecutors accused Google of negligence, saying the video remained online for two months even though some Web users had already posted comments asking for it to be taken down.
In February 2010, a court gave each of the three Google executives, none of whom were based in Italy, six-month suspended jail sentences.
Senior vice-president and chief legal officer David Drummond, former Google Italy board member George De Los Reyes and global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer did not face actual imprisonment as the sentences were suspended.
Google appealed the ruling which it described at the time as an attack on the fundamental principles of freedom on which the Internet is built.
The company argued it removed the video immediately after being notified and cooperated with Italian authorities to help identify the bullies and bring them to justice.
A verdict is expected on December 21.