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Google Italy Execs Convicted Over YouTube Bullying Video

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the i-just-thought-of-the-children dept.

Your Rights Online 391

FTWinston writes "Three Italian Google executives have been convicted of privacy violations in Italy over the contents of a YouTube video showing a boy with Downs syndrome being bullied — despite the fact that the video was removed as soon as it was brought to their attention, and that Google assisted the authorities in locating those who posted it. Prosecutors argued that Google should have sought the consent of all parties involved with the video before allowing it to go online. Quite how they were meant to achieve this is another matter." Google has responded by saying this is a Serious threat to the web.

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391 comments

internet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258580)

internet, srs bsns

firsta posta mamma mai! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258582)

Stupid pasta chompers.

Re:firsta posta mamma mai! (4, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258688)

This is honestly the first time in my life that I am ashamed of my heritage. This is absolutely ridiculous and reeks of corruption and incompetence. I seriously hope that --for all of our sakes-- this gets overturned in the appeal. But seriously, when did "having evidence of a crime" make you guilty of a crime (So long as you didn't try to tamper or hide it)? Did I miss the memo?

This is Italy (5, Insightful)

bradley13 (1118935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258766)

"reeks of corruption and incompetence" This is, after all, Italy: the country that elected and then re-elected Berlusconi.

Re:This is Italy (1)

baka_toroi (1194359) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258892)

Not to mention it's where the word "Mafia" originates from.

Re:firsta posta mamma mai! (3, Interesting)

wurble (1430179) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258810)

Did you see the Amanda Knox trial? This is the same legal system that convicted 2 obviously innocent people of murder with no evidence and sentenced them to prison for over 20 years even though they had already CONVICTED SOMEONE ELSE FOR THE SAME CRIME!

My wife and I had planned on visiting Italy in the next few years. After watching the trial, we changed our minds. Italy's legal system has ... "flaws."

Re:firsta posta mamma mai! (2, Insightful)

rvw (755107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258954)

My wife and I had planned on visiting Italy in the next few years. After watching the trial, we changed our minds. Italy's legal system has ... "flaws."

You misunderstand. Those "flaws" are in fact "features" designed by the government, to support that government (or the media companies associated with it) whenever it needs them.

By the same logic... (2, Funny)

ZeRu (1486391) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258952)

If someone commits a crime in Italy and the police isn't around to intervene, the victim should be able to sue them for not preventing the crime. How they were meant to achieve that? That's their problem, not mine.

More lawsuits! (3, Funny)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259116)

Well, it is Italy. Perhaps the victim will sue for having had his only chance at five minutes of fame nixed by Google. The mob-perpetrators will sue the state and the media for slander because they were just doing their job. Everyone will get killed. Then, there will be a marriage, a party, everyone will go to the beach, and confessions will be heard on a rock by a Catholic priest, you will be absolved if you are in scuba gear or have killed enough people.

Re:firsta posta mamma mai! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31259166)

You mean, apart from playing the ugliest soccer ever for a World Cup champion.

BTW, I'm of italian descent too.

Another useless set of judges (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258596)

And now we have even more judges whose lives aren't worth the resources they consume.

Re:Another useless set of judges (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258912)

And don't understand the concept of liberated speech. "Prosecutors argued that Google should have sought the consent of all parties involved with the video before allowing it to go online." - If you first ask PERMISSION to speak (or post videos), then you are Serf not a free person.

Not the judges per se (3, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259156)

This is political.

I would wager that this is Berlusconi's way of trying to control the web, you have to keep in mind this is a man who has a stranglehold on Italian media, and has used that to get into, and stay in power over the years. The web has been a headache for him, because it's an avenue from which people are getting news and which he does not control.

The judges may well be incompetent, or corrupt, but really they're just pawns in a bigger battle.

It's really hard to see how it can be anything else, I do not believe judges would reach the conclusion they did based on the fact that Google had done everything possible in their power, and based on the fact the people at Google in question who were targetted, are in some cases completely irrelevant and unattached to anything to do with the case.

It's likely that these people were chosen because they were high enough to make a point, but not the top dogs who really would have been able to unleash hell and fight back.

This is certainly one way in which Berlusconi could try and control the web such that it adheres to his viewpoint as much of the Italian media that he controls does, by ensuring that content providers are criminally responsible for anything put up that the government disagrees with. It's not a big deal for the Google execs, because they will likely never travel to Italy and so the case wont effect them- but picture this, you run a site in Italy critical of the Italian PM, you post photos of him carrying out an illegal deal, and, well, now you know where it will land you at least- jail. Anyone not from Italy doing the same, faces jail if they ever decide to travel to Italy after being convicted of the same.

It's almost as if Berlusconi has been taking lessons from the likes of Chavez and Ahmadinejad recently.

Great big targets (4, Interesting)

ItsColdOverHere (928704) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258600)

So Italy has basically painted a great big target on every single operator of social media.
Apparently if an Italian moderator or admin ticks me off I can simply upload some offending bit of data and call the cops...

Re:Great big targets (2, Interesting)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259130)

that's it: Berlusconi doesn't like that people can post videos of him getting hit with model cathedrals, so he's classing anyone who uploads video to the internet as a broadcaster subject to government regulation.

Re:Great big targets (1)

happy_place (632005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259188)

Clearly Italians want what we all want: Automated Protect the Handicapped and the Children video services! This is really not that hard. Just have someone write a perl script that automatically detects any potentially offensive video before the video is posted. End of problem. Case closed. In carta diem di tutto! Done and done.

It's just a simple matter of software at this point.

What?!? (4, Insightful)

AllyGreen (1727388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258604)

Thats a fucking witch hunt, what the heck else could google have done??

Re:What?!? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258636)

Um, respect people? Not just allow any crap about anybody to be posted?

It used to be the rights of the individual mattered most, not the rights of the mob, I mean, social media.

Re:What?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258700)

So you would like Google to personally review every video posted on youtube? In fact, nobody should be able to post anything online without it being reviewed by the powers that be, if I'm reading you right here.

Did you even RTFS?

Re:What?!? (5, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258738)

So one person in their customer base posts an objectionable video, they are informed about that video and remove it immediately, they assist the local police in finding who posted the video, and you think their behavior is deserving of criminal charges?

Man, I hope for your sake you never run a phone company in Italy. Imagine being held criminally liable every time one of your customers calls in a bomb threat to someone. Or the post office. Imagine the postmaster general being arrested and tried for murder each time a bomb is successfully mailed in the country.

What do you expect? Someone at Google has to watch and individually approve each and every video ever posted? How is that respecting the rights of the individual? Not only is it impractically expensive, it would be violating the right to free speech that many countries allow.

If Italy has their togas in a twist over people posting videos to public sites, the Italian government should pay for banks of censors and filter videos themselves.

Giving individuals rights means that sometimes some individuals (like the assholes who posted the video referenced above) will abuse those rights. At which point you find those individuals and punish them.

Re:What?!? (5, Insightful)

Muros (1167213) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258878)

What do you expect? Someone at Google has to watch and individually approve each and every video ever posted?

Apparently that would not be enough. "Prosecutors argued that Google should have sought the consent of all parties involved with the video before allowing it to go online." So, Someone at Google has to watch every video, personally identify every person involved in the video, and get their consent, and then approve it.

Re:What?!? (3, Interesting)

anegg (1390659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258990)

Perhaps that is exactly what is required - is is at least reasonable to debate the point rather than dismiss it outright.

Google offers a platform for publishing material. It is far different than a "common carrier" like the telephone company offering a communications system through which material is transmitted and received between individuals, or even an ISP (where multiple pairings are involved). It is, in fact, much more like a newspaper, with the difference that as it is currently run, no editor reviews the material appearing on the front page.

I can imagine a scenario under which material pertaining to me could be obtained illegally and published. If a newspaper were to publish it, I would certainly want to hold the editor of the newspaper responsible. In fact, the courts do find the editors of publications such as the National Inquirer (in the US, other publications elsewhere) responsible for publishing illegally obtained material regarding public figures such as movie stars.

Why is it so far-fetched to imagine holding the operators of an Internet-based publishing platform to a similar standard? Be careful in your responses, as I am not necessarily advocating holding them responsible; I am interested in understanding the reasoning under which it is considered ridiculous to do so.

Reasonable responses, anyone?

Re:What?!? (5, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259098)

In your analogy, the account holder is the newspaper editor. Google is the delivery company that picks it up and trucks it off.

Re:What?!? (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259104)

Reasonable responses, anyone?

You must be new here.

Deep Freeze (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259134)

Good effort to be reasonable, but this is almost judicial panic. I expect junk from prosecutors, but not judges.

This is the same as requiring them to cross reference every single version of every single web document ever made with every single person who happens to "be in it", and that's not even getting into the people who were photoshopped in it!

It's just so wrong it's despair worthy.

mod parent up (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259152)

Please mod parent up.
While we can all agree that it's impractical for Google to review every single video, this is not a reason to dismiss the discussion of whether or not it's acceptable for privacy to go down the drain simply because we're happily amused by all non-objectional use of their service.

Re:What?!? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31259226)

I would contend that your analogy is flawed. Google may not qualify as common carrier but neither is it a newspaper publisher. The closest analogy I can think of are the /. forums we're on right now. If I were to post illegal material here, is there a reasonable expectation that the /. editors would prevent it from posting? Or is it more reasonable that after receiving a complaint they would remove the infringing/illegal material?

The only difference between YouTube and Slashdot is the medium of information exchange. Slashdot is primarily text based while YouTube uses a mix of text and video to allow users to communicate.

Re:What?!? (1)

Pheonix28 (1362095) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259232)

The difference is, Newspapers hire people to write the articles, review the articles, and print the papers.

Google videos are user submitted.

Re:What?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31259240)

Many communities have public bulletin boards where anyone is allowed to post a flier for their upcoming show, or advertise an apartment for rent, etc. I think this is more analogous to what google/youtube provide. Apparently the Italian government thinks that bulletin board should be under glass, and the owner should review each bill before posting it on the bulletin board.

I think they are free to assert that requirement, but if I were Google I'd just be inclined to discontinue offering the service.

Note that I don't know much about local Italian laws, so complying with the order could cause Google to enter into other legal entanglements with regards to free speech, privacy, etc.

Re:What?!? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259100)

Someone at Google has to watch and individually approve each and every video ever posted?

They would have to hire everyone in Italy. Oh wait.

Re:What?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31259106)

I hope for your sake you never run a phone company in Italy.

That's amazing! I just opened a fortune cookie that said the same thing!

Re:What?!? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259182)

What do you expect? Someone at Google has to watch and individually approve each and every video ever posted? How is that respecting the rights of the individual? Not only is it impractically expensive, it would be violating the right to free speech that many countries allow.

While I largely agree with you, I've seen this same statement a few times in this thread now and I have to say, I'm not sure the right to free speech is the same as the right to use a particular technology to enable that free speech (especially when other means are available - maybe the point could be stretched to say someone who has no other way of expressing their opinion would be covered). By that logic ANY website that doesn't allow me to post whatever I damn well like on their pages would be suppressing my right to free speech (and there are many, many websites who already do pre-authorisation on content before they allow it to appear on their sites).

It doesn't excuse the fact that the outcome of this case is absurd, but we need to argue the right points or we end up diluting something as powerful as free speech.

Re:What?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258856)

In order to get permission of all the parties involved they would need to know who those parties are.

To make this short: That would be impossible to do all the time.

Re:What?!? (1)

Transfinite (1684592) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259004)

Apparently neither you or the Italian government understands how this "interwebs" thing actually works.

Google CAN censor images (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258768)

like how they did in the case of Abu Ghraib photos - http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/11/07/1442217 [slashdot.org]

Re:What?!? (1)

m509272 (1286764) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259016)

Bribe, apparently the usual practice there.

Mistake (2, Insightful)

seven of five (578993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258618)

This seems to be a mistake by the particular court that tried the case. Don't the Italians have an appeals process? It's just silly.

Re:Mistake (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258750)

Don't the Italians have an appeals process?

In the worst case, Google could go to the European Court of Justice since the European E-Commerce directive "says that "technical intermediaries" – web content hosts – are not liable for bad content but the creators or video posters are."

See this Euractiv article [66.102.9.132] for more.

Re:Mistake (1, Interesting)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258806)

Look, I think the decision is as stupid as everybody else does. But unless you are an expert on Italian law, don't go yammering about how an Italian judge doesn't know how to apply the law of a country you probably don't even live in.

Enforcing stupid laws does not make him a bad judge, nor does it make his decision a mistake. If you have evidence to the contrary other than "well I don't like this very much and therefore it must be wrong!" then by all means, point it out and let's have a look.

Re:Mistake (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258926)

You're the reason we have stupid laws. Fuck off and die.

Serious Threat (0, Offtopic)

LordAzuzu (1701760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258642)

Pl0x, give me a decent job outside italy, i'm wishing to leave this stupid and pathetic country everyday MOAR!

So basically... (1)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258650)

So by extension this means that if someone pushes a kilo of cocaine through my letterbox and I report it to the police, I'm guilty of possession of a controlled substance?

The judge is a fucking retard.

Re:So basically... (3, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258772)

Yes. It also means the postmaster general is liable for trafficking in illegal drugs, assuming the person who pushed the kilo of cocaine through your letterbox affixed postage to it first.

Re:So basically... (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259012)

I think the analogy would be saying that the postal service are criminally liable, even if it's sealed in a package, which would be particularly mad.

I'm not sure what would happen in your scenario - I must admit I'd be worried to report such a thing, out of fear of being done for possession (similar to a recent case in the UK, where an ex-soldier handed in a gun he'd found, and was arrested for possession...) This is the problem with possession laws, even of things we might agree should be illegal (e.g., child pr0n) - if anyone finds them, rather than reporting it to the police so the source can be tracked down, instead they might be more likely to destroy or get rid of it, out of fear of being charged themselves.

Bread and circuses (3, Interesting)

pv2b (231846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258656)

This is ridiculous.

If Youtube is illegal in Italy, maybe Google should just start blocking people from Italy from accessing the site. Maybe then people will care, when the people's bread and circuses are threatened.

Re:Bread and circuses (1)

palpatine (94) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258770)

Or, at the very least, disable all uploading ability on YouTube or posting ability on Blogger or any other user-contributed Google sites from Italian users, citing this case and the unwillingness of Google to accept any more user submissions from Italian users until the case is resolved. I think that would be totally fair and completely within Google's rights.

Re:Bread and circuses (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259142)

There is a precedent for this. Google disable comments and uploads form S. Korea when Korea introduced a law requiring all accounts to be ties to the national ID number, something Google wasn't set up to do or particularly interested in doing. Google could just turn off the same functions in Italy.

Re:Bread and circuses (1)

Second_Derivative (257815) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259070)

Isn't that the whole point of this judgement?

Some owner of an Italian-language search engine must have done an awful lot of whining to his friends in the judiciary recently.

Re:Bread and circuses (1)

pv2b (231846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259154)

Why would somebody running a search engine in Italy lobby to get a precedent which basically make it impossible to run a search engine without operating in a legal minefield?

Well - maybe that hypothetical somebody is fucking stupid (which isn't that unlikely). Or... maybe some people are more equal than others in the Italian judicial system (also not very unlikely).

frist 5top (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258668)

Trying To dissect

Confused as hell about this line (1)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258676)

Nevertheless, a judge in Milan today convicted 3 of the 4 defendants — David Drummond, Peter Fleischer and George Reyes — for failure to comply with the Italian privacy code. All 4 were found not guilty of criminal defamation.

Source: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/serious-threat-to-web-in-italy.html [blogspot.com]
I thought that they were convicted, and that was the problem. Am I missing what the actual conviction was, or is it a typo/freudian wishfull thinking?

Re:Confused as hell about this line (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258718)

Well, to quote your quote:

...a judge in Milan today convicted 3 of the 4 defendants — David Drummond, Peter Fleischer and George Reyes — for failure to comply with the Italian privacy code.

Thankfully they were not found guilty of criminal defamation. Just failure to comply with Italian privacy code.

Re:Confused as hell about this line (1)

Lundse (1036754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258924)

But - and this is frightening too - the prosecutors wanted to convict google employee of criminal defamation. Of being complicit in defaming the boy. By working for a company, on whose websites kids they did not know posted a video they knew nothing about and never saw, which defamed a person they had never heard of!

Re:Confused as hell about this line (1)

chalkyj (927554) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258746)

Guilty of failure to comply with the Italian privacy code != guilty of criminal defamation.

Re:Confused as hell about this line (1)

amaiman (103647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258748)

It means just what it said...they were convicted of the privacy code violation and acquitted on the criminal defamation charge (they were two separate charges, the privacy and the defamation).

Re:Confused as hell about this line (1)

mjschultz (819188) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258760)

All four were convicted of two crimes: failure to comply with the Italian privacy code and criminal defamation. Three of the four were convicted on the first one, failure to comply with the Italian privacy code. None were found guilty on the second, criminal defamation.

Re:Confused as hell about this line (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258936)

WTF? Should I draw a Venn diagram?

Re:Confused as hell about this line (2, Interesting)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259174)

I'm sorry, I did figure this out. No one was convicted of criminal defamation, which would suggest that they were charged with it. 3 out of 4 were convicted of failure to comply with privacy code. This could be viewed several ways, the judge was rational and wanted someone with deep pockets to get the privacy code repealed/reviewed/replaced (understand enough about the US judicial system, but no clue how this might work in Italy.)

The fact that all 4 were found not guilty of a more severe sounding offense seems to be good news. The fact that one person was found not guilty of anything also seems to suggest that there is little insanity taking place here.

American values in conflict here (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258680)

We are beginning to see a confrontation between American long held beliefs in free speech and what other nations consider to be free speech.

We are seeing this happen with internet censorship in Australia, Europe, and Asia.

It is quite possible that in the near future the internet will look very different on a per country basis.

Re:American values in conflict here (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258742)

Yes, of course, only GLORIOUS AMERICA has REAL free speech and everywhere else is just trying to catch up.

Re:American values in conflict here (1)

garg0yle (208225) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258762)

In this case, it was more of a conflict between free speech and the privacy of others, since they were conflicted of violating the Italian privacy code (which is pretty stringent). For the record, your right to free speech stops somewhere before you post my personal information on the 'net.

Re:American values in conflict here (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259038)

I don't see any conflict in this case. You can have privacy laws, without criminalising people who are clearly not responsible. The problem here is not that invading someone's privacy is illegal, it's that Google were held criminally liable. The same problem would apply if it was anything else being posted - it doesn't have to be privacy laws.

Easy solution (5, Funny)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258682)

Automatically notify the Italian government of every single public video uploaded to Youtube, and offer them a 5 minute delay before it becomes viewable inside Italy in which time they can reject it.

They'll be begging for it to stop after half an hour.

Re:Easy solution (1)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258822)

While I like this idea, looking for a solution that is, in and of itself, a bigger problem seems to belittle the parties involved on both sides. Overwhelming the Italian Government does not make them see their error, only makes them an "enemy."

Re:Easy solution (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259086)

I think the Italian government made it quiet clear that they were the enemy when they started slapping handcuffs on Google execs.

Privacy and Google don't go together (2, Insightful)

omega6 (1072658) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258696)

From the article it says that Google was convicted of violating privacy law for not getting permission to post the video. The nature of the video is irrelevant. I don't know Italian privacy law, but if they do have requirements that you must get permission to post video recordings of people on the internet, then this is Google's problem for not bothering to care about the local laws.

Re:Privacy and Google don't go together (1)

Lundse (1036754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258968)

True. It may be the Italian law, and not the judge in this case, that is utterly retarded (as pointed out by Dhalka226 above).

Re:Privacy and Google don't go together (4, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258982)

I don't know Italian privacy law, but if they do have requirements that you must get permission to post video recordings of people on the internet, then this is Google's problem for not bothering to care about the local laws.

Google aren't the ones who posted the video -- they are just the conduit. If Italian authorities wish to take action against those who post videos without permission then let them pursue those who actually choose to post them instead of those who provide the platform.

Re:Privacy and Google don't go together (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259064)

The real solution would be to deny Italian submissions completely and/or block Italian viewers. It is too much of a burden to identify and ask for permission, or even detect videos not containing any people.

Re:Privacy and Google don't go together (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259074)

So, it should also follow the local laws in places like Iran and China then, in terms of content that can be posted?

The people convicted don't even live in Italy.

Wow. (2, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258720)

Just wow.

This is so far over the top...based on the couple of different sources I have seen this story so far, Google immediately complied when asked to take the video down, assisted the authorities in finding the culprits, and fully cooperated....and the EXECUTIVES, who amount to pencil pushers with decision making powers, get convicted? Seriously, what the hell...that makes no sense.

They must have used the Chewbacca defense [wikipedia.org] against them or something...

Re:Wow. (5, Informative)

Eivind (15695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258838)

I dunno. The "immediately" part only applies if you start counting from the first letter-from-lawyer. If you count from when Google Italy actually received the first written complaint about the video, then it took more than 2 MONTHS before anything happened. (and there's no indication anything would've happened at all, if not for the lawyer-attention)

Giving Privacy Laws A Bad Name (5, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258722)

The UK's former Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said the case gave privacy laws a "bad name".

To which I entirely agree. Privacy laws have been used here in the UK (e.g., when the News Of The World posted a video showing Max Mosley in private acts), but the point is that firstly these are civil cases not criminal ones, and secondly, it requires intent, and does not make someone liable for merely "allowing" it, or running a server where users post content.

Even for something that clearly is and should be illegal, this ruling would be worrying - it's making server owners personally and criminally liable, rather than seeing them as common carriers.

But as mad as this is, in some sense this should be no different to say, if China decided to convict a Google exec for linking to pro-democracy pages, for example. Stupid, yes, but Google can and should ignore it. Those convicted do not live in Italy, so I don't see how they would have to comply if they don't visit (of course if they get extradited, then that will be mad). Google doesn't even have to pull out of Italy - they can surely just carry on, and it's up to Italy to try to block them.

The worrying thing though is that this is not some far off country, but a member of the EU.

Riiight (5, Insightful)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258786)

Prosecutors argued that Google should have sought the consent of all parties involved with the video before allowing it to go online.

And should I get permission from the cop that I catch tasering someone for no reason before I post that video as well? That statement is ripe for abuse.

Re:Riiight (1)

Lundse (1036754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258972)

Modded 'insightful' with non-existing mod points!

Misleading news (5, Informative)

ifchairscouldtalk (1031944) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258800)

The video was NOT removed as soon as it was brought to Google's attention.
According to the prosecutors the video remained online for two months even though web users had already asked for it to be taken down.

It is also worth mentioning that Google execs will not serve jail time because in Italy sentences of less than three years are commuted for people without criminal records.

Youtube is junk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258814)

I consider that Youtube content is 50% junk anyway...
Known clips such as music videoclips have same version uploaded by 30 users http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=metallica+one&search_type=&aq=f
or useless junk like nerds showing their rooms.

Re:Youtube is junk (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259162)

haha 50%, you are so generous. 99% of everything in print, on the internet, on tv, comming out of people's mouths, etc... is total crap.

It's no surprise. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258816)

We all know Italians aren't the brightest or best people. Don't any of you watch The Jersey Shore show on MTV?

Interesting Reply (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258820)

[[ Interesting commentary waiting on permission from CmdrTaco, FTWinston, and the Italian Government ]]

Use Rome's Strategy to fight Rome (1)

mistapotta (941143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258824)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interdict [wikipedia.org]

Seriously. What's the percentage of Italy's advertisement revenue from Youtube? Significant enough to question whether to maintain business in a country obviouly hostile to your service and willing to convict your employees that are helpful to the government in prosecuting the crime recorded on video?

If Google was seriously considering leaving the Chinese market (or using the threat to re-evaluate Chinese practices regarding them) then TPTB should consider an Interdict against Italy.

Youtube has already shown an ability to restrict content based on political boundaries, so this shouldn't be so much of a problem to implement. Maybe even put a nag screen (as they do to users of IE6) letting the Italian users know that this practice by their elected officials will not be tolerated.

Youtube needs moderation (0, Troll)

kriston (7886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258828)

If Youtube wants to be legitamate, Google needs to institute a moderation system.
All of this legal trouble with having illegal activities and copyrighted material being posted to Youtube would be much less of a problem if Google simply decided to take responsibility for Youtube and implement a moderation system.

Re:Youtube needs moderation (1)

Leafheart (1120885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258916)

If you want YouTube to be taken offline, just say so. It is less disruptive.

Retaliation? (1)

calspach (1538595) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258832)

Makes me wonder if one of the four expelled students has a Daddy that's a prosecutor or in some other position of power. I just can't fathom another reason for prosecuting them...Just reeks of retaliation.

In Italy (5, Interesting)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258840)

In Italy defamation is a beloved way to make people shut up. In two occasions I was threatened to be sued over defamation.

For the record, both times a car driver behaved like an arse and I told them they were 1) "un coglione" which is best translated as knobhead/dickhead/idiot and 2) "stronza" (bitch.) Both times the defamation threat came instantaneously. Knowing it would cost me US$ 100 tops, I actually enjoyed the frigging beggars -their motives were mostly financial IMHO- winding themselves up.

I suppose I actually deserved a bit of verbal thrashing and intimidation in those cases. But imagine much worthier goals being seriously hampered by this. You very quickly defame someone in Italy on the base that they actually deserve it.

We Italians sort of cherish elaborated, concocted, ridiculous laws. It makes us feel "save" in a way that if push comes to shove we will find some way to delay or attack the adversary.

Yes, I'm Italian and quite ambivalent about it. Don't think, however, that I would trade in my nationality that lightly. It's certainly not the best nationality to have but I haven't came across a better one so far. I trust most feel the same about their own nationality.

Re:In Italy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31259060)

by SpaghettiPattern (609814) writes: on Wednesday February 24, @09:16AM (#31258840) /quote?

Love the handle.

Ciao!

Re:In Italy (1)

Engeekneer (1564917) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259076)

It makes us feel "save" in a way that if push comes to shove we will find some way to delay or attack the adversary.

Or we could just load and try again.

Payback? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258848)

Google's geolocation is pretty good. They should just redirect all youtube and google video hits from Italy to a page saying "Following the recent judicial decision this service is no longer available in Italy as it is not practical to moderate all content in advance. If you don't like this here is the Italian justice minister's email address ........@........."

Again thats going backward (1)

Lazypete (863757) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258918)

The real probleme is not that the video appeared on youtube, the problem is that someone was stupid enough to beat another human being, be it down syndrom or not. The syndrom has nothing to do with it.. and in my opinion its good that the video appeared on youtube for two reason. 1. If it sickens enough people they will realise that the problem is not the video its the act. That the only solution is not censorship its education. 2. If enough people criticize the one putting the video up well they might just realise how stupid they were and change. Again... hiding things dont help.. showing it and saying.. damn this is stupid, do you realise what you have done? Put yourself in the shoe of that person !! THAT is something that SHOULD be done. Not hidding it... thats just hiding from your monster.. not confronting it.

Don't look at google (4, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258930)

If is a valid precedent, then in any moment slashdot admins could be convicted in Italy for an AC comment. Or any of us, if we didnt promoted down that comment when had moderating points.

What did you expect? (5, Insightful)

sp3d2orbit (81173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258970)

The president Silvio Berlusconi and his family own 45% of all media in the country (http://ketupa.net/berlusconi.htm). He regularly uses his political position to personally enrich himself and his family.

Google came into the country and threatened his source of income by offering a media platform not controlled by the Berlusconi's. This has nothing to do with the autistic boy in the video, but everything to do with the retarded president.

Re:What did you expect? (4, Insightful)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258980)

Aye -- I think this has very little to do with an actual crime, and everything to do with Berlusconi not wanting videos of himself being smashed in the face with miniatures ending up online.

They either want Google to pull out or give the Italian PM the control he wants.

Corruption at it's best (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259032)

Man, I love Italy. Easily my favorite European country to visit, but idiotic things like this make me never want to visit again.

IMO, any prosecutors involved in even attempting to bring such a case to court should have been immediately removed from their position. The fact that the judge allowed the case AND ruled in favor, he should have been immediately removed from his position and barred from any and all legal and / or political practices within Italy.

Italy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31259034)

Having elected a tanned, walking erection as prime minister isn't enough? Now this? It's a wonder why Italy hasn't already sunk into the Mediterranean Sea under the weight of its own shame.

And here I was thinking... (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259040)

Reading the first couple of sentences of the summary "finally, common sense! Executives have been convicted over violating the poster's privacy by leading police to him!"
one RTFS and RTFA later, and... for fuck's sake.

USA! USA! (0, Flamebait)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259052)

Just felt the obligatory moment of patriotism over living in a country with a relatively non-retarded legal system. Let's face it. The rest of the world sucks. Or at least they never took the time to read and understand what de Tocqueville meant about the uniqueness of America's judicial system.

Once again I am sure.... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259140)

Once again I am sure that I am not the only one who misread this: "Google Italy Executes Convicted Over YouTube Bullying Videos"

Italian legal system (1)

eples (239989) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259148)

The Italian legal system is a FARCE. The more I hear about how it operates the more I dislike it. How can the Italian people accept it? They found Amanda Knox guilty [go.com] after they already confirmed who the real perpetrator was.

Shame on Italy. Not that I'm in love with Google, but you guys are fucking stupid with your legal system.

Keep in mind... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31259190)

... That Berlusconi, beside being the president of that country, is too the manager of almost every TV stations in Italy (Mediaset).
I live in Switzerland, and I cannot find it again, but I read some weeks ago that a law was to be enforced to regulate the viewing of on demand video.

The article was relating the big amount of money that where being put into a on-demand video platform for mediaset at the same time, and how youtube was the first competitor to put aside.
http://www.totaltele.com/view.aspx?ID=450891 [totaltele.com]
http://news.softpedia.com/news/Berlusconi-s-Government-Plans-to-Severely-Restrict-Online-Video-in-Italy-132350.shtml [softpedia.com]

Given the fact that Berlusconi says all the time that "The bad journalists are attacking me without reasons all the time" http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/10/15/f-berlusconi-saga.html [www.cbc.ca] , and how he consider that the fist in face he received some times ago was "organized and planed via facebook" http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=alDDK9lGqxtY [bloomberg.com] I am not that surprised of that move.
After all, he passed a law giving him immunity in every lawsuit for corruption that where opened against him when he came back to the government.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/18/silvio-berlusconi-immunity-prosecution [guardian.co.uk]

Tried accessing YouTube from the Rome... (5, Funny)

netsavior (627338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259266)

"Youtube.com is inaccessible from your country."
Error 1942 - Fascist exception overflow. Please disable Axis powers and reload the page.
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