(title corrected from the newsletter version when the title was wrongfuly posted as “Italian Supreme Court: search engines are just hosting providers”)
The Italian Supreme Court (Court of Cassation) finally comes to put an
end to a long-term case brought in 2008 by Vividown association against
three Google executives considered responsible for a post uploaded in
September 2006, on Google videos, showing a disabled student being
verbally and physically abused by three of his fellow school mates.
Google removed the video in November at the request of the Italian
The association claimed that Google had failed to inform the users of
its video platform about their data protection obligations and did not
remove the video quickly enough.
The Court of Cassation comes at a close by backing up a decision of 2012
by the Milan Court of Appeal which overturned the initial decision of
2010 by the Milan Court of First Instance having held Google executives
criminally liable for illicit treatment of personal data.
The Court of Cassation enforced the decision that Google’s Youtube is
just a host provider merely storing content posted by the users and
considered Google executives had committed no criminal offence, as the
law does not impose any obligation on ISPs to inform users about their
data protection obligations and as Google executives had no prior
knowledge of the illicit nature of the video.
There is no general obligation on ISPs to monitor the information and
data provided by third parties. An ISP cannot be considered as a
personal data controller in this case, as a personal data controller has
the power to determine the objectives of the treatment of personal data
and the means through which it is done, and therefore, is required to
manage the risks associated with such treatment and obtain the consent
required from interested parties.
A hosting provider merely stores information provided by users of its
service, having no control over the data stored and no contribution to
their selection or management.
Italian supreme court says that Google is not liable for illicit
treatment of personal data committed by its users (10.02.2014)
Court of Cassation, sess. III Penal, sentence no. 5107/14; filed on 3
February (only in Italian, 3.02.2014)
Vividown case, finally in Cassation (only in Italian, 6.02.2014)
Google executives not ‘data controllers’ and not liable for privacy
infringement, rules Italian Supreme Court (5.02.2014)
EDRi-gram: Google executives facing trial on video posted on YouTube