Italian Prosecutors Said to Be Seeking Jail Time for Google Execs

Prosecutors in Milan are asking for one-year jail sentences for two Google execs and its former CFO should they be found guilty of defamation and privacy violations, reports Bloomberg. The charges stem from a 2006 cellphone video Google hosted that showed a disabled teenager being taunted by bullies at a school in Turin. For more background, read our previous coverage.

The Milan prosecutors have reportedly requested that David Drummond, Google’s senior vice president and chief legal officer; George Reyes, its former chief financial officer; and Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel, receive one-year jail sentences in the case of convictions. They also asked that Arvind Desikan, a senior product manager for Google, get a six-month sentence for libel.

The case has attracted international attention as it was brought against individuals for a company’s actions. Google has maintained that it complied with Italian law, removing the video when notified of its existence, as well as helping Italian police find those responsible. A Google spokesperson in Europe told Bloomberg: “Seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet and could spell the end of Web 2.0 in Italy. We will defend and support our employees.”

According to the prosecution, the case isn’t about an open Internet, but about business practices that “detract from citizens’ fundamental rights.”

The trial is closed to the media per Google’s request, and is adjourned until Dec. 16.


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