Italian Supreme Court Upholds Acquittals in Googe Video Bullying Case

The court ruling ends the case three years after executives were conviced of violating privacy laws

By Philip Willan
Wed, December 18, 2013

IDG News Service — Italy's Supreme Court ended the prosecution of Google executives for allowing the posting of a video showing the bullying of a handicapped boy, three years after they were convicted of violating privacy laws.

The third section of the Supreme Court upheld the acquittal on appeal of Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, Google Italy board member George De Los Reyes, and Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer. A prosecutor had sought to get the case referred back to the Appeal Court for a new trial.

The phone video showing an autistic boy being tormented by classmates was posted on Google Video in 2006 and remained online for two months.

"We're happy the Supreme Court confirmed the innocence of our colleagues," Google said in a statement welcoming the ruling Wednesday. "The decision is important because it confirms an important juridical principle."

The conviction had sparked concerns about how companies such as Google could possibly review user-generated content in advance of it being posted on websites, as well as questions regarding legal responsibility that hosting services have for such content.

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