Tech Industry

Italian YouTube privacy trial postponed

A case that brings defamation and privacy charges against Google employees has been pushed back to February 18.

A criminal trial starting Tuesday that could mean jail time for three Google employees and the company's former chief financial officer was postponed until Feb. 18, Google said Tuesday.

Tracey Bentley, who's monitoring the trial for the International Association for Privacy Professionals, also reported that the municipality of Milan has added a new charge against the company itself. Bentley In addition, Bentley quoted a former Italian prosecutor as saying procedural delays are common in such cases.

The case involves a video of teenager with Down syndrome being taunted by classmates in a Turin school that had been posted in 2006 and was removed later. Italian prosecutors filed criminal charges involving defamation and breach of privacy.

Charged in the case are David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer; Peter Fleischer, Google's chief privacy counsel; George Reyes, Google's former CFO; and a Google employee that the search giant declined to identify. Each face jail time of up to 36 months.

The big issue is the degree to which Google is responsible for content supplied by people who use its service. Google's position on the matter is as follows:

As we have repeatedly made clear, our hearts go out to the victim and his family. We are pleased that as a result of our cooperation the bullies in the video have been identified and punished. However, we feel that bringing this case to court is totally wrong. It's akin to prosecuting mail service employees for hate speech letters sent in the post. What's more, seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet. We will continue to vigorously defend our employees in this prosecution.