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Italy court overturns conviction of Google executives for privacy violation

An Italian appeals court on Friday overturned the conviction of three Google [corporate website] executives for violating Italian privacy laws by posting a video on Google of a handicapped child being bullied. Google was "delighted" [AP report] to see the convictions overturned and uncertainty over the effects of Italian privacy laws removed. The lower court's conviction raised concern over European privacy laws and the need to police the Internet for content that could be incompatible with the privacy laws. None of the Google executives was involved with the creation of the video, and the video was removed from the Internet two hours after authorities notified Google. In its final arguments, Google explained that the large quantity of videos and posts on the Internet would make it impossible for Google to preview everything prior to its posting. Google maintained that it was unaware of the offensive material posted online and proceeded to remove the video after being notified by authorities.

In 2010 an Italian court found the three Google executives guilty of privacy violations [JURIST report] for allowing a video depicting bullying to be posted on its website. The court in Milan found that the three men, David Carl Drummond, George De Los Reyes and Peter Fleitcher, violated the privacy rights of a young man with Down syndrome when they allowed a video showing his classmates bullying him to remain on the Google Italy website from September to November 2006. All three men were given a suspended sentence, though prosecutors had asked for a one-year imprisonment.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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