The Observer reports that today, in Italy, 3 Google executives were convicted of privacy violations and charged with three to six months of suspended sentence. The case revolved around a video that was uploaded on YouTube in 2006, shortly after Google acquired the service. The video showed “an autistic student in Turin being beaten and insulted by bullies at school. In the footage, the youth is being mistreated while one of the teenagers puts in a mock telephone call to Vivi Down.” Vivi Down is an advocacy group based in Italy for people with down syndrome; the group was the one which filed the case against Google.
Judge Oscar Magi (awesome last name btw) laid down the rule of the law on Google’s Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, along with former CFO George Reyes, and Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer. Although none of them were involved in the uploading or production of the controversial video, the prosecutors claimed that Google should have noticed it and taken it down sooner because it quickly became one of the most popular videos at the time.
Google will of course appeal the decision, stating that it is a threat to “the principles of freedom on which the Internet was built.” My only question is, does Google even have the technology or manpower necessary to really screen the tens of thousands of videos uploaded to YouTube daily? I mean, do we even have the means to censor the massive content on the Web if we wanted to?