An Italian court has convicted three Google executives in a trial over a video showing an autistic teenager being bullied. The Google employees were accused of breaking Italian law by allowing the video to be posted online.
Judge Oscar Magi absolved the three of defamation but convicted them of privacy violations. Prosecutor Alfredo Robledo told reporters “A company’s rights cannot prevail over a person’s dignity. This sentence sends a clear signal,”
David Drummond, chief legal officer at Google and one of those convicted, said he was “outraged” by the decision.
“If individuals like myself and my Google colleagues who had nothing to do with the harassing incident, its filming or its uploading onto Google Video can be held criminally liable solely by virtue of our position at Google, every employee of any internet hosting service faces similar liability,”
“Common sense dictates that only the person who films and uploads a video to a hosting platform could take the steps necessary to protect the privacy and obtain the consent of the people they are filming.”
Maybe Google should shut down the services they provide to Italy for a period of time in a response to the judgment.
Google and other internet companies have faced similar problems in a variety of countries and often it is an attempt to shake down a large business.
Years ago Ebay, Amazon and other commerce businesses had serious problems with Germany who you may consider a forward thinking Western country but they are not alone China and Iran have blocked businesses and Pakistan actually took control of Google’s IP Addresses / DNS system throwing Google offline for almost a day.
In the end what solution do the Italian’s seek? Do they expect Google to implement a staff of thousands to monitor all of Italy’s Internet use of YouTube, GMail, Blogger and other products they provide?
This is an impossibility.
Google could not do this even if they dedicated all of their profits from around the world to do so.
The only other option is to completely deny Italian Citizens from the use of Google Services however with Proxy Services they would soon find a way around the limitations…
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must get involved here along with the Obama Administration who has been absent in many talks where China, Iran and other countries are not only blacklisting our businesses but reducing the important flow of commerce and information.