An Italian court has convicted three Google executives of breach of privacy and given each a six month suspended jail sentence.
They were accused of allowing footage showing classmates bullying a boy with Down’s syndrome to be posted on the search engine’s video site.
The images were filmed with a mobile phone.
Google says it will appeal the verdicts against senior Vice President David Drummond, former Google Italy board member George de Los Reyes and global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer.
“None of these 3 employees had anything to do with this video,” a Google representative at the Milan courthouse said.
“They didn’t upload it. They didn’t film it. They didn’t review it. And yet they have been found guilty. So if this is let to stand, we believe it would threaten the very freedom that the internet has brought about – that sites like Blogger and Youtube, if they are held responsible for vetting every video, then the freedom that we know, the web that we know will cease to exist.”
Google argues it removed the video as soon as it was notified of it. But prosecutors accused the search engine of negligence, saying the footage was online for two months, despite comments calling for its removal.