Google executives facing trial on video posted on YouTube

By EDRi · November 19, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

Four former and present Google executives, including Senior Vice President
David Drummond are waiting for the confirmation of the order issued by an
Italian prosecutor to stand trial for a video on a young man with Down
syndrome posted on YouTube in November 2006.

The case caused a lot of rumours in public media in 2006 and it was already
estimated that the prosecutors action would take a lot of time before
presenting the case in front of a judge. The Google executives are to appear
in a Milan court on 3 February 2009 facing charges of defamation and failure
to exercise control over personal data. The action is the result of the
investigation initiated on the basis of a complaint filed by Vividown, an
Italian advocacy group for people with Down syndrome, and the boy’s father.

The video posted on the site in 2006, filmed with a mobile phone, was
showing an Italian youth with Down syndrome humiliated by four high school
students. Google removed the video immediately after having received a
complaint from the Italian Interior Ministry. The case was reported in 2006
in EDRi-gram, which underlined the fact that some important comments were
not taken into consideration such as “the responsibility of parents and
educators, the widespread deterioration of human and social values, the
warping of culture and behavior”, as explained by EDRi-member ALCEI. As in
other cases, some people are using this opportunity to control free speech.

Google stated that the case could become a worrying precedent considering
the trial against its employees is not justified. Google had already said in
July 2008, when the case became public, that it would cooperate with the
prosecutors “to show that all Googlers under investigation have no
involvement in the Vividown case.” A Google spokesman also stated: “We
believe that this proceeding is not about Google Video and what happened,
but about the internet as we know it – an open and free environment.”

According to the EU legislation which is implemented into the Italian law,
hosting sites don’t have to monitor third-party content, but are only
required to remove any content deemed offensive when notified about it. In
this case, however, Google was treated as an Internet content provider.

Google executives to face trial in Italy: sources (5.11.2008)

Four Google Officials Likely to Stand Trial in Italy (6.11.2008)

Google Sued Over Offensive Down Syndrome Video Clip | YouTube to Moderate
All Videos Uploaded? (26.07.2008)

EDRi-gram: Google accused in Italy over shock video (6.12.2006)

The “Google case” in Italy: one more excuse for censorship and repression

ALCEI Press Release Nov. 26, 2006