Google Italian Conviction Sets Dangerous Precedent

Google has already said that it will appealing against the decision by an Italian court to charge three of its employees of not respecting the privacy of the Down Syndrome's victim.

The search engine giant might have been guilty of not taking down the video - Google Video took two months to do it and only after it was viewed by thousands of Italian viewers.

The problem obviously is that, strictly speaking, these executives haven't done anything reprehensible. They did not film, upload, commit the crime, review the video and yet they were found guilty.

By doing so, the Italian justice has opened a Pandora box since other countries could follow suit, a nightmare for service providers and ISPs alike.

It brings back the debate associated with whether "safe harbour" should protect the aforementioned parties from legal wrangles associated with content hosted by them.

The fact that Google cannot review each and every video poses yet another problem, one that has been highlighted during the many discussions surrounding illegal content on Youtube and other user generated video websites.

There are already ratings and reporting tools available on UGC websites to facilitate the taking down of offensive, illegal and reprehensible content.

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But there's something even darker about the whole story. That's the fact that the video was the most popular in Italy for two months, something which shows that culturally speaking, bullying might be acceptable to a section of Youtube's audience.

Related Links

Court convicts Google trio for violating Down's syndrome boy's privacy

(Times Online)

Google execs protest Italian guilty verdicts

(The Register)

UPDATE 1-Google execs convicted in Italy for Down's videos

(Reuters)

Google executives convicted in Italy over abuse video

(Guardian)