YouTube bully abuse video trial delayed

An Italian court has postponed the trial against four Google executives accused of defamation and violating privacy for allowing a video to be posted online showing an autistic youth being abused.

All four deny wrongdoing. The case could set the tone for new limits on sharing videos and other content on the Web.



Google says the case violates EU rules by trying to place responsibility on providers for content uploaded by users.



The company also considers the trial a threat to freedom on the internet because it could force providers into an impossible task - prescreening the thousands of hours of footage uploaded every day onto websites like the Google-owned YouTube.



Prosecutors and civil plaintiffs insist they don't want to censor the internet, and maintain the case is about enforcing Italy's privacy rules as well as ensuring large corporations do their utmost to block inappropriate content, or quickly delete it.



"It's the first case of this kind in Italy and Europe," said Alessandro del Ninno, a lawyer and expert on internet law. "The risk is that it will force providers to preventively control the content, something that goes against the very nature of the internet."

The months-long trial reopened on Tuesday but was quickly adjourned to Sept. 29 because an interpreter didn't show up, making it impossible to proceed with planned testimony from a Google technician who was to explain how the company's video service works, lawyers said.



The defendants, who are being tried in absentia in Milan, are Google's senior vice president and chief legal officer David Drummond, former chief financial officer George Reyes, senior product marketing manager Arvind Desikan and global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer.



The probe was sought by Vivi Down, an advocacy group for people with Down syndrome, which alerted prosecutors to the 2006 video showing an autistic student in Turin being beaten and insulted by bullies at school. In the footage, the youth is being mistreated while one of the teenagers puts in a mock telephone call to Vivi Down.



The events shortly preceded Google's 2006 acquisition of YouTube.



Google Italia, which is based in Milan, eventually took down the video, though the two sides disagree on how fast the company reacted to complaints. Thanks to the footage and Google's cooperation, the four bullies were identified and sentenced to community service by a juvenile court.



But prosecutors also sought trial for the Google executives, who could face up to three years in jail, for failing to protect the youth's privacy by allowing the video to be uploaded.



"We feel that bringing this case to court is totally wrong," Google said in a statement ahead of Tuesday's session. "It's akin to prosecuting mail service employees for hate speech letters sent in the post."



"Seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open internet," it said.



The trial opened in February, with the court so far dealing with procedural matters. The family of the youth withdrew from the trial when it opened, leaving Vivi Down as the main plaintiff in a civil lawsuit attached to the case.



"It is not correct to talk about censorship, this is not our goal," said Guido Camera, a lawyer for the group. "We ask that at least users be made aware of their responsibilities."



Prosecutors say they are aware Google cannot screen all videos, but maintain the company didn't have enough automatic filters in place as well as warnings to users on privacy and copyright laws. They also say Google didn't have enough workers assigned to its Italian service in order to react quickly to videos flagged as inappropriate by viewers.

Suggested Topics
News
people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    QA/BA - Agile

    £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

    Senior Infrastructure Engineer - Server, Networks

    £40000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Infrastructure En...

    Application Support Analyst - Service Desk - Central London

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analy...

    Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?