Sunday, October 4, 2009

Google Execs Face Jail in Italy

Apparently, Google isn’t watching you as closely as some people would like.

Two senior executives from the search giant could face up to three years in prison if they’re convicted for violating Italian privacy laws.

According to the BBC, the charges stem from a 2006 YouTube posting that shows an Italian primary school student with Downs Syndrome being bullied by four classmates with at least a dozen others looking on.

The video was posted just before Google acquired the video-hosting site, but Italian officials argue that there were inadequate content filters in place to remove the post and that the video itself violates Italian law since it was uploaded without the consent of everyone involved.

Google, of course, maintains that it has broken no laws. The video was up for several months, but Google says it was removed after they received complaints. They also maintain that no laws were broken, as the video was hosted in the U.S., where privacy laws are much more relaxed.

Some people are looking at this as an opportunity to take a (potentially, but not yet) high-profile anti-American or anti-Google stance. Whether or not that's the case this underscores at least one thing: We are living in a global society where technology is outpacing the law and we need to coordinate and cooperate across boarders with a modicum of reasonability (hello Italian courts) and responsibility (looking at you, Google).

A decision is expected in December.

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