Google may be guilty of many things but is hosting videos one of them?
Over the past few days it has come to pass that the Italian court system have set a huge precedent for providers of services such as video hosting, blogging, social networking even sites that simply offer the option for a user to make a comment.
How is this possible? Google Video hosted an unfortunate and despicable video of a child being bullied at a school in Italy, Turin. Google did not upload this video – it was another school child who decided to advertise and broadcast their behaviour to the world wide web. The video remained online for some time until a complaint was made against the video at which point the evil empire that is Google duly removed the video.
So Google was taken to court, by the criminal prosecution service in Italy and the perpetrators of the upload were punished – Google in fact helped identify the person that uploaded the video in the first place. However that was not enough so the Italian courts also brought to trial, Peter Fleischer Privacy Counsel, David Drummond Chief Legal Officer and George De Los Reyes of Chairman of Board Google Italy and convicted them of breaking Italian privacy laws. Six month suspended sentences for each of the Google executives whilst a fourth executive was acquitted.
“None of these four people had anything to do with the video,” Echikson [Google spokesman] said. “They didn’t film it, they didn’t upload it, they didn’t review it. Nonetheless they were held criminally responsible.”
Matt Sucherman of Google blogs said, “In essence this ruling means that employees of hosting platforms like Google Video are criminally responsible for content that users upload. We will appeal this astonishing decision because the Google employees on trial had nothing to do with the video in question.”
“Common sense dictates that only the person who films and uploads a video to a hosting platform could take the steps necessary to protect the privacy and obtain the consent of the people they are filming.”
A dangerous precedent has been set for the internet service providers, websites and enthusiasts, including sites such as Hardware Heaven. Google will appeal the decision and we are hopeful it is overturned.