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3 Years Later, Italian Authorities Are Still After Google

Almost 3 years after Italian authorities investigated two Google Italy employees–as part of an inquiry into how a violent video appeared on Google Video–criminal charges have now been brought against four Google executives.

According to the Financial Times, Italian prosecutor Francesco Cajani has brought criminal charges against four Google executives directly.

…David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, and Peter Fleischer, its top privacy executive, after footage of a disabled boy being bullied by other boys was broadcast on Google Video…George Reyes, former chief financial officer, has since retired from Google. The fourth is Arvind Desikan, a senior product marketing manager.

While the video sounds pretty heinous–four boys bullied another with Down’s syndrome, then posted the video to Google Video–it might be equally unjust that Google is being pulled into the court room. The European Union’s electronic commerce directive works in much the same way as US laws and basically protects internet service providers from being liable for the works published by others. In addition, Google pulled the video as soon as it was made aware of it.

As the FT speculates, this case will be a battle of standardized best practices versus the local sentiment of Italian authorities.