Three Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) executives were recently acquitted by an Italian Appeals Court. The executives were charged with violating privacy laws. Back in 2010, they were originally sentenced to a six month suspended sentence. This decision was made from a lower court judge who thought that Google was too slow to remove a video of kids terrorizing an autistic child.
There was major concern over the original verdict as many wondered if the ruling invaded internet privacy. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), along with other internet companies, claimed that they shouldn’t be forced to review each video before posting it on their website. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) also said they acted fast and removed the video as soon they received the message.
Google Italy’s policy manager Giorgia Abeltino admits he is happy with the appeal, “‘We’re very happy that the verdict has been reversed and our colleagues’ names have been cleared. Of course, while we are delighted with the appeal, our thoughts continue to be with the family, who have been through the ordeal.”
The co-director for Nexia Center for Internet and Society in Turin, Marco Ricolfi, added “The decision is welcome in that it removes a substantial threat to digital platforms and to the contributions to speech coming from them.”
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) noted that the new ruling reminds us that websites like YouTube are more or less host websites and they don’t edit user generated content.
The video was originally posted on a website that’s since been replaced by YouTube. The first ruling left many wondering whether YouTube would be banned in Italy. The New York Times reported:
After the ruling, there had been talk that Google might have to go so far as to shut down YouTube in Italy, because the company said it would be impossible to vet the 72 hours of video content that are uploaded onto YouTube around the world every minute.
More importantly, there were serious concerns on how this ruling would affect internet freedom for the rest of the Western world.