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Google Italy Execs Convicted Over YouTube Bullying Video 391

FTWinston writes "Three Italian Google executives have been convicted of privacy violations in Italy over the contents of a YouTube video showing a boy with Downs syndrome being bullied — despite the fact that the video was removed as soon as it was brought to their attention, and that Google assisted the authorities in locating those who posted it. Prosecutors argued that Google should have sought the consent of all parties involved with the video before allowing it to go online. Quite how they were meant to achieve this is another matter." Google has responded by saying this is a Serious threat to the web.
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Google Italy Execs Convicted Over YouTube Bullying Video

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  • Re:Mistake (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @10:08AM (#31258750)

    Don't the Italians have an appeals process?

    In the worst case, Google could go to the European Court of Justice since the European E-Commerce directive "says that "technical intermediaries" – web content hosts – are not liable for bad content but the creators or video posters are."

    See this Euractiv article [] for more.

  • Misleading news (Score:5, Informative)

    by ifchairscouldtalk ( 1031944 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @10:13AM (#31258800)
    The video was NOT removed as soon as it was brought to Google's attention.
    According to the prosecutors the video remained online for two months even though web users had already asked for it to be taken down.

    It is also worth mentioning that Google execs will not serve jail time because in Italy sentences of less than three years are commuted for people without criminal records.
  • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eivind ( 15695 ) <> on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @10:16AM (#31258838) Homepage
    I dunno. The "immediately" part only applies if you start counting from the first letter-from-lawyer. If you count from when Google Italy actually received the first written complaint about the video, then it took more than 2 MONTHS before anything happened. (and there's no indication anything would've happened at all, if not for the lawyer-attention)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @10:56AM (#31259276)

    There were certainly large holes in the prosecution's argument, and their random character assassination tactics were pretty underhanded, but the evidence that she was at least present at the murder is rather strong. [] (Click 'more' to read it all.)

  • My heroes (Score:3, Informative)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @10:59AM (#31259308)
    Is this the same Italy that let a a fugitive child rapist attend [] an awards ceremony in their country without the slightest fear of arrest? So I guess it's okay to rape a kid as long as you don't bully them on Youtube? What noble defenders of our kids, that Italian government!
  • Re:Great big targets (Score:3, Informative)

    by bickerdyke ( 670000 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @11:01AM (#31259336)

    Small correction:

    He doesn't like ANYONE publishing ANY KIND of video. TV station owner, competition, wink wink nudge nudge

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @11:04AM (#31259354)

    Also this []. Prosecution issues aside, she was involved. The evidence is overwhelming.

  • by Saint Fnordius ( 456567 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @11:17AM (#31259534) Homepage Journal

    It looks like the GP typo'ed/brainfarted. The statement should read:

    All four were accused of two crimes: failure to comply with the Italian privacy code and criminal defamation. Three of the four were convicted on the first one (failure to comply with the Italian privacy code). None were found guilty on the second (criminal defamation).

  • Small correction... (Score:3, Informative)

    by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @11:19AM (#31259560)
    Silvio Berlusconi isn't the president. Never has been. He's the Prime Minister.
  • Re:What?!? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @11:30AM (#31259746)

    Newspapers (in the USA) do not need the consent of individuals to post their pictures or quote them, so long as the speech recorded was heard in a public space or the pictures were taken in a public space. The general rule of newspaper photography is, "If I'm allowed to stand where I'm standing, and I can with ordinary effort take the picture, and the image is in no way misleading, then it can be printed." (Misleading being camera tricks: making someone seem like they're somewhere they're not, etc.)

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @11:31AM (#31259772)

    Obviously innocent? You must have watched a different trial. She and her boyfriend had wildly differing stories about what happened, repeatedly changed their stories and had some other issues explaining what they were doing the night of the murder. Not to mention that it is entirely possible for more than one person to participate in a murder.

    Yes, there were some obvious issues in the trial (her dna is found on a knife from their apartment? Shocking!) and there are plenty of well-deserved jokes about the Italian legal system, but to go as far as saying they're obviously innocent.... that's a stretch.

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @11:32AM (#31259790)
    This is very typical of Italian "justice". You must understand that in Italy they feel sorry for the worst criminals and like to convict lesser ones. People over 35 might remember the Achille Lauro hijacking where an elderly Jewish American cruise ship passenger was killed by terrorists. The terrorists were going to get away on an Egyptian Airliner until President Reagan ordered US fighters to intercept the flight and force it to land in Italy. The Italians showed up with their elite armed police and at gunpoint demanded the right to try the hijackers. And in justice the Italian way, they ended up feeling sorry for all of them and made all of the ones they convicted eventually eligible for work release. And of course, one of them took advantage of this and fled and it was only due to the competence of Spanish authorities that he was recaptured.

    You must be aware too that Italy probably has the strongest voice in all of the EU against the death penalty. So like many countries that don't have it, they tend to be pretty soft on true criminal behavior. They are not like the UK where you actually can get locked up for life. Remember a few years ago when some guys tried and failed to do more terrorist bombings in London? At least one of the culprits fled to Italy and demanded to be tried there. He knew that he'd get maybe 10 years at most and be set free if he faced what passes for Italian justice.
  • by js_sebastian ( 946118 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @11:33AM (#31259792)

    No, GP is right. The reason we have stupid laws is because we have stupid and/or corrupt politicians. The judge in this case isn't necessarily either stupid or corrupt - quite often an astute judge who recognises a stupid law will set up a trial case (preferably by finding against someone big enough to take care of themselves like Google) which they know will almost certainly go to appeal. Once it goes to appeal, any precedent set is more binding on the lower courts...

    ...Except that italy's judiciary (as the judiciary of most of the world, except the former british empire) does not operate under common law, but civil law. Under civil law, precedents do not matter, only the law (as written by the legislative branch) and its interpretation matter.

  • by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @11:47AM (#31259968)
    In Italianyes. but when translated into English, it's always referred to as prime minister, since it would be confusing to English speakers. As an aside, the reason it's translated as prime minister is because most other parliamentary systems also refer to that role as prime minister, not president of the council of ministers.

    Just sayin', as a translator.

  • by jonaskoelker ( 922170 ) <> on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @12:00PM (#31260192)

    My parent said:

    This has nothing to do with the autistic boy in the video

    The summary said:

    a YouTube video showing a boy with Downs syndrome

    And the internets at [] said:

    One set of co-morbid conditions that are experiencing an upsurge in research is the existence of an autism spectrum disorder in an individual who also has Down syndrome

    If autism and Down syndrome can coexist, it seems reasonable they can also not coexist, and that they therefore are different things.

    Please don't confuse the two.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @12:40PM (#31260712)

    precedent matter in italy when they are judged by the higher court (cassazione)

    normal court
    appeal court (corte d'appello)
    and then

    or european court

  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @04:37PM (#31264106)

    Berlusconi hasn't stolen nearly the quantity that Bush stole, nor murdered nearly so many innocent people. I'm unsure however that Bush was actually quite so blatantly corrupt as Berlusconi.

    For example, I would compare the fact that Bush repealed the estate tax for 4 years with the fact that Berlusconi passed a two month tax amnesty for bringing money back into Italy from Swiss bank accounts.

    Bush's temporary repeal of the estate tax seems more like grand standing because rich people must actually die within those four years for their children to benefit. Berlusconi used those two months to personally move like 500M euros from his Swiss bank accounts back into Italy.

    Are these incidents comparable? I'd say both passed enormous other tax breaks for the rich, although perhaps Bush's were more onerous. We know both threw enormous sums of money towards their powerful corporate friends. Yes, Bush gave away vastly more money, but one should compare these numbers with the GDP, and shadow GDP in Italy's case.

    Italy isn't nearly so blatantly or aggressive in foreign affairs of course. In particular, Italy didn't transparently fake the justifications for invading another country while expecting the obviously fake justifications would improve their electoral chances.

We gave you an atomic bomb, what do you want, mermaids? -- I. I. Rabi to the Atomic Energy Commission