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Italy, youtube, they do be crazy!

zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
edited February 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
Well, Italy are certainly trying very hard to raise the bar and one-up Australia on internet dumb.

Disgusting video posted on youtube, google is informed, video removed, google cooperate with request for poster identity,,,so far so good?.. here is what comes next:

But in this instance, a public prosecutor in Milan decided to indict four Google employees —David Drummond, Arvind Desikan, Peter Fleischer and George Reyes (who left the company in 2008). The charges brought against them were criminal defamation and a failure to comply with the Italian privacy code. To be clear, none of the four Googlers charged had anything to do with this video. They did not appear in it, film it, upload it or review it. None of them know the people involved or were even aware of the video's existence until after it was removed.

At this point, most people laughed at and ridiculed the Italian prosecution. It frankly seemed asinine. The punchline?


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8533695.stm
An Italian court has convicted three Google executives in a trial over a video showing an autistic teenager being bullied.

The Google employees were accused of breaking Italian law by allowing the video to be posted online.

Judge Oscar Magi absolved the three of defamation but convicted them of privacy violations.


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

The three employees, Peter Fleischer, David Drummond and George De Los Reyes, received suspended six-month sentences, while a fourth defendant, product manager Arvind Desikan, was acquitted.

David Drummond, chief legal officer at Google and one of those convicted, said he was "outraged" by the decision.

'Ridiculous case'


ANALYSIS
Jane Wakefield
Jane Wakefield, BBC News technology reporter

The guilty verdict has left Google outraged and much of the net community concerned about the ramifications

If firms can be held liable for every piece of content on their site they would face a nigh-on impossible job of policing and vetting everything before publication.

Many question how the Italian prosecutors decided which employees to target and most agree the four it settled on were random choice with none living in Italy or having direct responsibility for the video in question. George De Los Reyes was Google's chief financial officer but no longer even works for the firm.

Google says it has no plans to pull out of Italy and that it will vigorously appeal the case.

At the moment there is no indication that a similar case could or would be brought in any other European country.

Italy does seem determined to pursue such cases though and similar ones are ongoing against other net giants, such as eBay, Yahoo and Facebook. Its motives in pursuing such cases are less clear.

"I intend to vigorously appeal this dangerous ruling. It sets a chilling precedent," he said.

"If individuals like myself and my Google colleagues who had nothing to do with the harassing incident, its filming or its uploading onto Google Video can be held criminally liable solely by virtue of our position at Google, every employee of any internet hosting service faces similar liability," he added.

Peter Fleischer, privacy counsel at Google, questioned how many internet platforms would be able to continue if the decision held.

"I realise I am just a pawn in a large battle of forces, but I remain confident that today's ruling will be over-turned on appeal," he said.

Richard Thomas, the UK's former information commissioner and consultant to privacy law firm Hunton & Williams, said the case was "ridiculous".

"It is like prosecuting the post office for hate mail that is sent in the post," he told BBC News.

"I can't imagine anything similar happening in this country. The case wasn't brought by the Italian equivalent of the information commissioner but by criminal prosecutors and we don't know their motives.

"I find it worrying that the chief privacy officer who had nothing to do with the video has been found guilty. It is unrealistic to expect firms to monitor everything that goes online."

Seeking consent

The verdict is likely to have ramifications for content providers around the globe.

Google said at the trial that pre-screening all YouTube content was impossible.

The video at the centre of the case was posted on Google Video in 2006 shortly before the firm acquired YouTube.

Prosecutors argued that Google broke Italian privacy law by not seeking the consent of all the parties involved before allowing it to go online.

Google's lawyers said that the video was removed as soon as it was brought to its attention and that the firm also provided information on who posted it.

As a result four students were expelled from their school in Turin, northern Italy.


The possible implications:

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. In essence this ruling means that employees of hosting platforms like Google Video are criminally responsible for content that users upload.


Let's have a good laugh at Italy and their scooters, organized crime and fashion, which seem to be the only 3 things they are doing well!
Very difficult to say which is more maddening, that those people were convicted, or that the reason for the conviction is a "privacy law". This is very unlikely to stand, as the current EU communications legislation has a special exemption for "service providers", but it's still a very annoying decision, IMO, and we can only hope that other EU nations don't get the same idea.

zeeny on
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Posts

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Even if it is allowed to stand, the only likely ramification is Google pulling out of Italy. And I can't imagine that that is going to make the Italians particularly happy.

    Thanatos on
  • TomantaTomanta Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    It does certainly win my "dumb of the day" award, and it was one of the first things I saw when I woke up this morning.

    Tomanta on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I hope Italians enjoy their upcoming lack of google access. Probably Youtube and any blog system as well.

    And you thought not having Hulu was hell.

    OptimusZed on
  • saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Was Guiliano Mignini the head prosecutor, by chance?

    saint2e on
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  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Italy is insane in more than one way. Chances are they're hoping for bribes from the companies to drop all charges.

    Alternative, lets pull the plug on Italy. Oh and while we're at it can we kick them out of the EU and the NATO? They're nothing but a nuisance.

    Aldo on
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  • SyphonBlueSyphonBlue Anyone need healing? Heroes never die!Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    .....speechless.

    SyphonBlue on
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  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    God damnit, Italy. This is why [strike]we[/strike] you can't have nice things.

    Forar on
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  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I was thinking about how to constructively add to a discussion about differences in culture, expectations of online behavior and access, changes in how we handle anonymity online...

    but no, this is just dumb. If this is Italy's law, then they should set up a giant firewall and block youtube and the rest of the interactive internet, like China does.

    SageinaRage on
  • Capt HowdyCapt Howdy Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Italy's first step to ban the interwebs, or make all the internet companies stay away? The internet is a dangerous thing, at least that's Iran and China's view of it.

    Capt Howdy on
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  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I was thinking about how to constructively add to a discussion about differences in culture, expectations of online behavior and access, changes in how we handle anonymity online...

    but no, this is just dumb. If this is Italy's law, then they should set up a giant firewall and block youtube and the rest of the interactive internet, like China does.
    Actually, China has loads of interactive websites, it's just that there's government officials keeping an eye on whatever is hosted, instead of moderators of commercial companies...

    Aldo on
    Elendil wrote: »
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  • KalTorakKalTorak Way up inside your butthole, Morty. WAAAAY up inside there.Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Capt Howdy wrote: »
    Italy's first step to ban the interwebs, or make all the internet companies stay away? The internet is a dangerous thing, at least that's Iran and China's view of it.

    And Australia's.

    KalTorak on
  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I was thinking about how to constructively add to a discussion about differences in culture, expectations of online behavior and access, changes in how we handle anonymity online...

    but no, this is just dumb. If this is Italy's law, then they should set up a giant firewall and block youtube and the rest of the interactive internet, like China does.

    It is, especially if you keep in mind that the actual perpetrators in the video have already been convicted.

    zeeny on
  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Disgusting video posted on youtube, google is informed, video removed, google cooperate with request for poster identity,,,so far so good?
    Hell, even that is too onerous but freedom of expression is one thing US politics has over EU politics at least. Criminal defamation? Privacy violation? The fucking nerve.
    SyphonBlue wrote: »
    .....free speechless.

    PantsB on
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  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Such a stupid ruling. It's not even like the company refused to remove the material, they cooperated entirely and random execs get sued for... helping the government?

    I'm not even sure how you can demand people proactively remove any offensive material from upload sites or comment pages. Why not just sue any company for being an accessory to crimes committed on their property?

    kildy on
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Some general goings-on in the world of politics that I hate:

    1) The manner in which the vague and largely meaningless term "privacy" can be wielded in the judiciary to rule for or against any damned thing you can imagine.

    2) Greedy depsicable leeches in European and S. American governments who look for any way they can to attack or rob American global corporations.

    3) The deeply rooted assumption that "hey, it's the Internet, we can't be held responsible for what goes on on our servers!"

    Yar on
  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Yar wrote: »
    Some general goings-on in the world of politics that I hate:

    1) The manner in which the vague and largely meaningless term "privacy" can be wielded in the judiciary to rule for or against any damned thing you can imagine.

    2) Greedy depsicable leeches in European and S. American governments who look for any way they can to attack or rob American global corporations.

    3) The deeply rooted assumption that "hey, it's the Internet, we can't be held responsible for what goes on on our servers!"

    Yes, we've discussed it you and me(re:Verizon's newsgroups, I believe).
    You were completely ignorant in regards of letter of the law regarding ISP and web service providers in the EU or the US then and while I understand that you still hate the situation, there are safe harbor provisions in every communications act out there. Nothing is more reasonable than "We are not responsible for bytes we do not own when we do not even know what they are. If they are illegal, let us know and we'll act immediately and assist you in discovering the guilty party."

    zeeny on
  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I don't think 3 is entirely a defense used. It's mostly "hey, if you tell us about something, we'll look at it and fix it if it needs to be"

    Mostly because the only other option is to have a 48-72 hour period where uploads are screened and a large staff of screeners well versed in every country's internet related laws on what content is acceptable.

    Any live/rapid upload system like a comments board, this forum, or anything else is pretty much impossible to pre-moderate. The Mods on PA can't stop me right now from posting something massively offensive/illegal in this text field. They CAN remove it after the fact, but they can't automagically know I'm about to do it.

    The issue in this court case is that the legal system seems to think they should be able to automagically stop me, and removing it the second they see it isn't enough.

    kildy on
  • DmanDman Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Yeah I'm shocked.

    If google had refused to co-operate I'd understand but they did everything they could possibly be expected to do...

    Many ISP's offer free hosting for a home website....I can easily see posting pictures on it that violate privacy law, does that mean italy holds random executives of that ISP criminally liable?

    WTF Italy?

    Dman on
  • ronzoronzo Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Yeah, 3 makes no fucking sense because its safe harbor

    We've had these laws in place for over 100 years now, or would you expect teleco's to know whats happening on every phone call?

    ronzo on
  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    ronzo wrote: »
    Yeah, 3 makes no fucking sense because its safe harbor

    We've had these laws in place for over 100 years now, or would you expect teleco's to know whats happening on every phone call?

    Well, it depends on the country... :winky:

    kildy on
  • JoJoHoraHoraJoJoHoraHora ItalyRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Where's that Picard facepalm image?

    JoJoHoraHora on
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  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Yar wrote: »
    3) The deeply rooted assumption that "hey, it's the Internet, we can't be held responsible for what goes on on our servers!"

    I'm curious to know how you would change the current situation, without requiring pre-approval for everything posted onto the internet, and thus slowing the internet down to a level of pointlessness, and also requiring millions of legal decisions every day on what should be approved, and so raising the cost of business to the level of unprofitability.

    SageinaRage on
  • JustinSane07JustinSane07 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2010
    So...

    did they try these guys in absence or did 4 Google employees actually fly out to Italy to stand trial?

    and are they being held in Italy?

    I basically want to know if they're in the USA giving the middle finger to Italy or if they're going along with it.

    JustinSane07 on
  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Didn't Italy convict an American student of having a hand in another student's murder just because she was involved in an orgy with that other student?

    I'm not sure if I trust Italy's court system to not be seeking to punish as many people as remotely possible.

    Henroid on
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  • Orochi_RockmanOrochi_Rockman __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2010
    Henroid wrote: »
    Didn't Italy convict an American student of having a hand in another student's murder just because she was involved in an orgy with that other student?

    I'm not sure if I trust Italy's court system to not be seeking to punish as many people as remotely possible.

    I was just thinking as I read that "Wasn't there another Sad Italian Court thread on here not too long ago?" Was that it? I remember facepalming over Italian Courts before.

    Orochi_Rockman on
  • Darkchampion3dDarkchampion3d Registered User
    edited February 2010
    Google should just block Italy for a few days and wait for the reversal.

    Darkchampion3d on
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  • Capt HowdyCapt Howdy Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    So if Wiki puts up things they don't like, can they be prosecuted as well? Or am I reading too much/little into this?

    Damn, I can see where I'm going with this.

    Capt Howdy on
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  • psychotixpsychotix __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2010
    All of the EU is crazy. Just out to steal money from other corporations to fuel their expenses, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/7301299/Google-under-investigation-for-alleged-breach-of-EU-competition-rules.html

    :lol:

    psychotix on
  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Google should just block Italy for a few days and wait for the reversal.
    I like the precedent that would send, if Google's gonna take over the world they might as well start with a country that messed with them first (and is not China). Or, they could buy up Italian corporations and break them up.

    Malkor on
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  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    psychotix wrote: »
    All of the EU is crazy. Just out to steal money from other corporations to fuel their expenses, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/7301299/Google-under-investigation-for-alleged-breach-of-EU-competition-rules.html

    :lol:

    Glancing through that article and then doing a few searches, it seems like a really convoluted case. It's all going to hinge on if Foundem changed anything shortly before their KPIs went back up. Because as far as I can see, every web expert that looked at their page went "wow, your SEO sucks, that's why you rank so low", while Foundem seems to think it's Google being out to get them.

    kildy on
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Malkor wrote: »
    Google should just block Italy for a few days and wait for the reversal.
    I like the precedent that would send, if Google's gonna take over the world they might as well start with a country that messed with them first (and is not China). Or, they could buy up Italian corporations and break them up.

    Pax Google.

    Couscous on
  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Where's that Picard facepalm image?

    800px-Picard-facepalm.jpg

    Captain Carrot on
  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited February 2010
    Dman wrote: »
    WTF Italy?
    You have your question and answer in the same sentence.

    It is almost Zen-like.

    Andrew_Jay on
  • MalaysianShrewMalaysianShrew Registered User
    edited February 2010
    So as a SysAdmin who has worked servers owned by Italians, would I then be liable under Italian law if they start serving questionable material?

    I better go see some Roman ruins now before I'm wanted by the government.

    MalaysianShrew on
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  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Andrew_Jay wrote: »
    Dman wrote: »
    WTF Italy?
    You have your question and answer in the same sentence.

    It is almost Zen-like.

    Pretty much every non-stupid argument for not allowing Turkey to join the EU can be rebutted by just citing Italy.

    Couscous on
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Ok so we know how we all feel about this but has anyone seen or read anything that would shed some light on whether or not this is a normal or foreseeable interpretation of the Italian law in question?
    It might well be that this decision is truly odd even in Italy but on the other hand it might be a perfectly reasonable application of Italian law, which could seem alien to us Anglo types

    Kalkino on
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  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited February 2010
    Couscous wrote: »
    Andrew_Jay wrote: »
    Dman wrote: »
    WTF Italy?
    You have your question and answer in the same sentence.

    It is almost Zen-like.
    Pretty much every non-stupid argument for not allowing Turkey to join the EU can be rebutted by just citing Italy.
    Throw in Greece too. By next month it looks the EU will end up virtually running the country.

    Andrew_Jay on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Andrew_Jay wrote: »
    Throw in Greece too. By next month it looks the EU will end up virtually running the country.
    And Spain, Portugal and most of eastern Europe too.

    Really, corruption and shifty financial dealings are par of the course for most of the EU.

    Aldo on
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  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Ok so we know how we all feel about this but has anyone seen or read anything that would shed some light on whether or not this is a normal or foreseeable interpretation of the Italian law in question?
    It might well be that this decision is truly odd even in Italy but on the other hand it might be a perfectly reasonable application of Italian law, which could seem alien to us Anglo types

    I don't think such a thing exists. We're talking about a country where you can get out of fraud charges by delaying the trial, since the statute of limitations keeps ticking while the trial progresses.

    kildy on
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    zeeny wrote: »
    Yes, we've discussed it you and me(re:Verizon's newsgroups, I believe).
    You were completely ignorant in regards of letter of the law regarding ISP and web service providers in the EU or the US then and while I understand that you still hate the situation, there are safe harbor provisions in every communications act out there. Nothing is more reasonable than "We are not responsible for bytes we do not own when we do not even know what they are. If they are illegal, let us know and we'll act immediately and assist you in discovering the guilty party."
    Right, we never discussed the letter of the law. I understand safe harbor for user directed content. The dispute is over your assessment that nothing could be more reasonable. It only extends so far. Napster is a perfect example. For things like YouTube/Google Video, we presume that the overall good faith and awesomeness of the service grants them the right to safe harbor. If something like Google Video were to evolve into a web site dominated by criminal content, the law would find a way to kick them right out of this figurative harbor.

    I'm not advocating that all Internet content must be moderated. A lot of sites operate that way, where all user content is screened. A lot of sites don't. All I'm saying is that when your company is profiting from ad revenue broadcasting bullies beating up a handicapped child, then there are a few people in this scenario who have even more of a right than you do to be outraged, and you need to toughen your skin and get ready for this kind of shit, and be cognizant of where the gray lines are between safe harbor and snuff. I don't share the defendants opinion of how "ridiculous" this is, despite the fact that I also don't necessarily think they should be found guilty of anything and I don't necessarily think that all user directed content needs to be pre-screened.

    Yar on
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