Italy to charge Google over taunting video

Video from 2006 shows classmates abusing a teenager with Down syndrome in a Turin school. Authorities blame Google for invasion of privacy.

Google faces criminal charges because of a video posted on the company's Italian Web site showing a teenager with Down syndrome being taunted by classmates in a Turin school.

The United Kingdom's TimesOnline reports that the clip, which lasts for 191 seconds, "showed the youths making fun of the teenager before hitting him over the head with a box of tissues."

The video got posted in 2006 but was subsequently removed after its existence become known.

A representative for Google Italy said the company was disappointed with the decision, which follows a two-year investigation by Italian magistrates.

"While we would like to renovate our solidarity to the family of the boy and to the Vividown association, we strongly believe that this proceeding is not about Google video and what happened, but is about the Internet as we know it, an open and free environment. We will keep collaborating with the General Attorney of Milan and the Court in order to prove that all the Googlers under investigations had no involvement in the Vividown case."

Italian authorities say that four executives from Google will be charged with breach of privacy and defamation. These include the person who was chairman of Google Italy at the time, as well as a former Google Italy board member, an executive responsible for European privacy policy, and the former head of Google Video for Europe.

 

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