David Carl Drummond, head of Google Italy's managing board; George De Los Reyes, a board member; Peter Fleitcher, in charge of privacy protection in Europe; and Arvind Desikan, head of videos for Europe stood trial in Milan, Italy on charges of criminal defamation and violation of privacy.
The case is a result of a video uploaded to Google’s Video service in 2006. Showing several teenage boys teases a boy with Down's Syndrome, the video remained online for nearly two months before it was removed. Despite the fact that Google removed the video within 24 hours of receiving a request to have it taken down, advocacy groups claim the video should never have been posted to the site at all and in allowing it to appear online, Google violated the boy’s privacy.
Google argues that its cooperation led to the bullies being punished and likens the case to someone blaming the mailman for delivering hate mail. The search giant said seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet.
The BBC reports that a Google engineer today took the stand to give evidence that aimed to prove Google had not committed any crime.
The trial has been subjected to several delays. Scheduled to begin on February 4, proceedings were then delayed until February 18. Parties were supposed to appear in court again in June but proceedings were delayed until September because a translator was ill. If the four men are convicted, the case could change the way sites like YouTube operate