Google loses bullying video case in Italy
Internet giant Google has been convicted of invading privacy in a test case over a video posted online.
Three executives from the company were found guilty in the Italian case involving film of an autistic boy being attacked by school bullies.
Judge Oscar Magi gave them six-month suspended sentences but cleared them of defamation charges.
Google called the decision "astonishing" and said it would appeal.
"The judge has decided I'm primarily responsible for the actions of some teenagers who uploaded a reprehensible video to Google video," the company's global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer, who was convicted in his absence.
The trial could help define whether the internet in Italy is an open, self-regulating platform or if content must be better monitored for abusive material.
Google, based California, said it considered the trial a threat to freedom on the internet because it could force providers to attempt an impossible task - pre-screening the thousands of hours of footage uploaded every day onto sites like YouTube.
"We will appeal this astonishing decision," a Google spokesman said. "We are deeply troubled by this decision. It attacks the principles of freedom on which the internet was built."
Convicted of privacy violations along with Fleischer were Google's senior vice president and chief legal officer David Drummond, retired chief financial officer George Reyes.
Prosecutors had insisted the case was not about censorship but about balancing the freedom of expression with the rights of an individual.
Google has blogged about the case here.