Court overturns Google trio convictions

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An ITALIAN appeals court yesterday overturned the convictions of three Google executives who had been held criminally responsible for a video on a Google site that showed a disabled teen being bullied.

Google said it was “delighted” with the appellate ruling that cleared global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer, its senior vice-president and chief legal officer David Drummond, and retired chief financial officer George Reyes of wrongdoing.

The original verdict raised concerns that platforms could be forced to police their content in Italy, and beyond, while putting privacy concerns at odds with the freewheeling nature of the internet.

A lower court in 2010 convicted the three of privacy violations for a 2006 video posted on Google Video, a video-sharing service Google ran before it acquired YouTube later that year.

None of those charged were involved in the posting of the video. Google said it took it down within two hours of being notified by authorities.