Four Google Executives Charged For An Uploaded Video

Posted Feb 3, 2009

File this under the WTF category.  Four Google executives are being charged for a crime that they did not commit.  A trial in Milan, Italy is charging David Drummond (Google SVP and chief legal officer), George Reyes (former Google CFO), Peter Fleischer (Google Global Privacy Counsel), and an unnamed executive (Google Video in London) for a video that was uploaded to Google Video.  The video uploaded in 2006 had four kids making fun of a boy with Down’s syndrome.

Google quickly removed the video uploaded to the site, but apparently someone in Italy still felt that Google should be punished.

?To our knowledge, this is the first time an individual has been criminally charged for violation of data protection laws that occurred by the company he or she works for,? stated Trevor Hughes, a director for International Association of Privacy Professionals. ?This suggests that privacy is going to be more of a battleground.?

Google compared this case to filing a lawsuit against a postal worker delivering hate speech letters in the mail unknowingly.  I think that this is a great analogy for this case.  Believe is the full Google statement:

As we have repeatedly made clear, our hearts go out to the victim and his family. We are pleased that as a result of our cooperation the bullies in the video have been identified and punished. We feel that bringing this case to court is totally wrong. It?s akin to prosecuting mail service employees for hate speech letters sent in the post. What?s more, seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet. We will continue to vigorously defend our employees in this prosecution.

[via NYTimes]