Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Google employees convicted of violating the Italian privacy code

In this disturbing note on Google’s official blog, an Italian court has convicted four Google employees of criminal defamation and a failure to comply with the Italian privacy code!

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

The 2nd Dark ages for Europe

In this case, the Google employees did nothing to facilitate the defamation, and in fact, worked hard to have the defamatory content removed from the web. But European law is quite clear, and Google notes:

“European Union law was drafted specifically to give hosting providers a safe harbor from liability so long as they remove illegal content once they are notified of its existence.

The belief, rightly in our opinion, was that a notice and take down regime of this kind would help creativity flourish and support free speech while protecting personal privacy.”

If search engine providers were to be held criminally responsible for what gets into the Google index, Europe could find itself cast back into the dark ages . . . Google says it best:

“If that principle is swept aside and sites like Blogger, YouTube and indeed every social network and any community bulletin board, are held responsible for vetting every single piece of content that is uploaded to them — every piece of text, every photo, every file, every video — then the Web as we know it will cease to exist.”