Google Privacy Counsel, Others on Trial

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Tuesday, Larry Dignan, editor-in-chief at ZDNet, pointed out an interesting criminal case developing in Italy right now. Apparently Google execs are on trial for privacy violations.


According to the International Association of Privacy Professionals:

Google's global privacy counsel will appear in Italian court this week on criminal charges of defamation and failure to exercise control over personal data. The charges follow a two-year investigation by Italian authorities into footage uploaded onto Google Video that showed a disabled teen being disparaged by peers.

The video in question reportedly depicts high schoolers teasing a special needs student and hitting him with a box of tissues. IAPP says, "Milan public prosecutor Francesco Cajani decided... Google executives were in breach of Italian penal code."


Interestingly, he is prosecuting the company as an Internet content provider as opposed to an Internet service provider. Under European Union law, ISPs are not responsible for third-party content that lands on their sites. Internet content providers, on the other hand, are responsible for the content on their sites.The case appears to be the first prosecution of its kind.


Google, of course, disagrees that it should be responsible for content placed on its sites by third parties. IAPP says the company's cooperations with authorities has led them to the students responsible for the video, and they have been prosecuted.