Italian Court Overturns Google Privacy Convictions

An Italian appeals court has overturned the conviction of three Google executives on charges of violating Italian privacy law.

Google said that the ruling represented “a total victory.” The attorney of the defendants, Giulia Bongiorno, said that his response to the ruling was “absolute satisfaction, but it isn’t surprising to me–honestly the conviction was based on nothing.”

In 2006, charges of violating Italian privacy law had been filed against three Google executives after a three-minute mobile phone video of a teenager with Down syndrome being bullied was uploaded to Italian Google Video that was the precursor to Google Italia YouTube. Google removed it less than 24 hours after being alerted to the video’s existence.

“The video was totally reprehensible and violated Google Video’s terms and conditions of service,” said Google’s head of global privacy, Peter Fleischer, in a blog post. “Google took it down within hours of being notified by the Italian police of the presence of the offensive video, consistent with its policy to remove any content that violates the terms and conditions of service.” “None of us … had anything to do with this video. We did not appear in it, film it, upload it or review it. None of us knew the people involved or were even aware of the video’s existence until after it was removed,” said Fleischer.

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