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GigaOm: Google’s legal and privacy chiefs have sentences overturned by Italian court

231David Meyer writes for GigaOm.com that the convictions of David Drummond and Peter Fleischer, as well as former CFO George Reyes, over privacy offences relating to a bullying video, have now been overturned on appeal.

Three current and former Google executives have been acquitted on appeal by an Italian court, over a depressing case that involved a video of an autistic child being bullied.

Back in February 2010, the executives – legal chief David Drummond, privacy counsel Peter Fleischer and George Reyes, who was already Google’s ex-CFO at that point – were given suspended six-month sentences over alleged privacy offences. On Friday, an appeals court quashed the verdict.

“We’re very happy that the verdict has been reversed and our colleagues ‘ names have been cleared,” a Google spokesperson said afterwards. “Of course, while we are delighted with the appeal, our thoughts continue to be with the family who have been through the ordeal.”

The ordeal in question happened in 2006, when schoolchildren in Turin uploaded to Google Video a video of one of their classmates, an autistic boy, being bullied. The video went up in September of that year, but Google only received a complaint two months later, at which point it took the video down.

Read more details: Google’s legal and privacy chiefs have sentences overturned by Italian court

Read also: Milan prosecutor wants jail terms upheld for Google autism video

Milan prosecutor wants jail terms upheld for Google autism video

Reuters.com informs that an Italy prosecutor has asked an appeals court to uphold jail sentences for three Google executives charged with violating the privacy of an Italian boy with autism by letting a video of him being bullied be posted on the site in 2006.

“Not only has the privacy of minors been violated but lessons of cruelty have been given to 5,500 visitors,” Milan prosecutor Laura Bertole Viale said on Tuesday at the appeals hearing.

Four students at a Turin school uploaded a mobile phone clip to Google Video in 2006 showing them bullying the boy. The prosecutors accused Google of negligence, saying the video remained online for two months even though some Web users had already posted comments asking for it to be taken down.

In February 2010, a court gave each of the three Google executives, none of whom were based in Italy, six-month suspended jail sentences.

Senior vice-president and chief legal officer David Drummond, former Google Italy board member George De Los Reyes and global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer did not face actual imprisonment as the sentences were suspended.

Google appealed the ruling which it described at the time as an attack on the fundamental principles of freedom on which the Internet is built.

The company argued it removed the video immediately after being notified and cooperated with Italian authorities to help identify the bullies and bring them to justice.

A verdict is expected on December 21.

(Reporting By Manuela D’Alessandro, writing by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Rosalind Russell)

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/11/us-google-italy-idUSBRE8BA10R20121211