Italian Court Convicts Three Google Executives For The Posting of a School Beating Video

We have been following the growing threat to free speech in the West through blasphemy and hate crime prosecutions, here. Now, Italian prosecutors in Milan have criminally charged four Google employees after a video was posted by students showing the bullying of an autistic child in late 2006.

Ultimately, the police identified the student responsible for uploading the video and she was sentenced to 10 months community service. However, they proceeded to go after Google for the fact that the video appeared on Google Video.

The defendants are David Drummond, Arvind Desikan, Peter Fleischer and George Reyes who were charged with criminal defamation and a failure to comply with the Italian privacy code. In an outrageous breach of free speech rights, a judge in Milan convicted David Drummond, Peter Fleischer and George Reyes for failure to comply with the Italian privacy code.

It is another example of how the West is steadily criminalizing speech with as little as a whimper of objection. Countries like Italy are allowing defamation, privacy, and blasphemy claims to chip away at a core foundation of Western Civilization. This Court showed precious little concern over the implications of its ruling for the Internet specifically and free speech in general. The ruling is another wake-up call for civil libertarians that we need an international campaign in support of free speech to address these insidious trends.

For the full story, click here.

27 thoughts on “Italian Court Convicts Three Google Executives For The Posting of a School Beating Video”

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  2. @Eh

    You observe: “It seems odd to me that the Italian courts chose to convict Google employess, who played no part in the crime that was committed, yet there is no mention of what happened to the students who were causing pain & suffering to the Autistic boy in the video.”

    Seconded!! And in fact, it was those students who falsely claimed that they had the rights to post the video, and caused all the trouble (because they didn’t).

    Why should they be getting off with less punishment than the folk who just removed the video when asked to do so?

    It seems like a small town letting off “the locals” (despite them being guilty), while punishing the folk from “out of town” (despite them being innocent). Also, it seems if being from the US is a negative which outweighs most other factors. That also seemed to be true in the case of the American student convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher.

    One must also observe the media filter/bias in effect in such cases. (Some from Itailian press, and perhaps Berlosconi; Some from US coverage; some from others.) It’s possible that coverage of the real miscreants has been censored for various reasons. Even if they were minors though, I would have expected any competent journalist would have mentioned what happened to them (if not their names). Perhaps I date myself by expecting competent journalism, though it’s a huge concession to accept that “good” journalism is rare…

  3. @Byron You ask “ever wonder why California is broke?” No need to wonder; that’s easy; “SATSQ”. It’s called “Proposition 13” … one part of it has been enabling the minority Republicans to block every single ressponsible budget for the past many years. If it doesn’t cut taxes for the wealthy (including corporations) … they don’t let it happen. If it does anything to address the services which most (non-wealthy) Californians expect the state to provide (good schools and parks being just two examples) … they don’t let it happen.

    Not that Ahnult has been good, but the blame isn’t only his. Remember that the recall election which shoved him into power was triggered by (a) fiscal problems caused by Enron and other Texas “Friends Of W” looting $50 billion or so out of the state, with federal acquiescence (if not assistance); (b) media (and republican) unrest about some minor vehicle taxes that addressed a different segment of the deficit.

  4. Based on cultural history, Europe has a much stricter view on the “right” to privacy than we, based on our own cultural history, do. There was an interesting article on this situation in Sunday’s New York Times.

    I suspect Google is learning some cultural lessons as it expands into other nations.

  5. I will also advise you that if you have Google Toolbar installed it’s best to uninstall it. Just go to Google.com then search, but take Google completely out of your system. It is also wise to delete your history 4 or 5 times a day.

  6. P.S. try not to depend on Google for all your searches. Put your inquiry into the other ones like Bing, Yahoo, or the latest one IXquick. IXquick offers you more privacy.

    Search Googlegate in google and see the results. Then do it in the other search engines. 47,900 in google,

    47,900 in google,
    75,299,853 matching results in IXquick
    1-10 of 76,900,000 results in Bing

    Climategate

    2,410,000 for climategate in Google
    51,600,000 results in Bing
    53,099,332 matching results in IXquick

    This is just two examples and this is why Google is under fire right now trying to defend. Plus they are in bed with this administration.

  7. I don’t consider anything that involves third parties to be “private”. I have not established any trust relationship with Google (at least not when searching the internet).

    If I want privacy, I have face-to-face communications in a area that I have a right to control. If I need to do it via the internet, I use a program like X-IM.

  8. Bdaman:

    the Patriot Act, as I have said from the beginning, is the child to the future American Gestapo. It needs to be done away with and quickly.

    It doesn’t surprise me though that Google would be okay with it, look at the politics of their 3 key people and you will have your answer.

    And speaking of politics, ever wonder why California is broke? Ahnold took economic advice from Warren Buffet. He may be good at making money for himself but he apparently doesn’t know crapola about making money for other people. Take a look at his true economic views. He ain’t no capitalist.

  9. Alan Davidson, the company’s chief lobbyist, stopped by the White House in March. Vint Cerf had an appointment with US CTO Aneesh Chopra in September. Google CEO Eric Schmidt was at the White House four times in 2009, and though he managed two visits with the POTUS, both were in larger groups than the Gates get-together. (Google’s former top policy wonk, Andrew McLaughlin, is now a key player in the executive branch tech team.)

  10. Bdaman 1, February 28, 2010 at 11:05 am

    And it’s important, for example, that we are all subject to the United States Patriot Act.

    nobama 1, February 28, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Obama Signs Extension of Patriot Act – on a Saturday Night Of Course

    With no debate – or media attention – President Barack Obama has signed an extension for what many considered the most controversial aspects of the USA PATRIOT Act. The provisions, set to expire Sunday without the signature of Obama, include extensions to allow:

    -1) “roving” wiretaps, permitting surveillance on multiple phones and e-mail addresses.

    -2) court-approved seizures of records and property in anti-terrorism operations.

    -3) surveillance on “lone-wolf” foreign nationals, who may not be part of a recognized terrorist group.

  11. “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place,” Schmidt said. “But if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time. And it’s important, for example, that we are all subject to the United States Patriot Act. It is possible that information could be made available to the authorities.”

    My jaw hit the floor when I heard that. Now they are just coming right out and telling us that they will turn our data over to the feds. Based on what I know about how much information they have, it’s really some scary stuff.
    In addition to information collected from searches, Google also saves sent and received e-mails, including e-mail drafts, attachments and chat messages through its Gmail system.
    What these big search engines have is the eye in the sky. It’s like the totalitarian dictator’s dream. They know everything and with a couple of mouse clicks, they could find every single person in the country who observes Passover or attends a Catholic or Baptist church or who buys ammo.

    Here is just one example how google is adapting to online searches and working with a government authority.

  12. It seems odd to me that the Italian courts chose to convict Google employess, who played no part in the crime that was committed, yet there is no mention of what happened to the students who were causing pain & suffering to the Autistic boy in the video.
    Police were able to identify, and charge the female student who uploaded the video, but again, no mention of the punishment to the bullies. If anything, justice systems everywhere should be looking to these sick videos as evidence to convict actual criminals.

  13. Obama Signs One-Year Extension of Patriot Act – on a Saturday Night Of Course

    With no debate – or media attention – President Barack Obama has signed an extension for what many considered the most controversial aspects of the USA PATRIOT Act. The provisions, set to expire Sunday without the signature of Obama, include extensions to allow:

    -1) “roving” wiretaps, permitting surveillance on multiple phones and e-mail addresses.

    -2) court-approved seizures of records and property in anti-terrorism operations.

    -3) surveillance on “lone-wolf” foreign nationals, who may not be part of a recognized terrorist group.

  14. Isn’t there something that if you sue them it has to be in the location of the corporation. Contract of adhesion or some such nonsense.

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