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back to article Google closes briefcase on Italian job: Execs 'not liable' for privacy breach

Two senior Google staff members and another former executive at the company cannot be held liable for a breach of privacy caused when a video was uploaded to its Google Video platform in Italy, the Italian Supreme Court has ruled. Italian lawyer Marco Consonni of Orsingher Ortu, who read the judgment, told Out-Law.com that the …

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"They also can lose exemption if they monitor content."

Is that why YouTube comments has lots of mindless filth? If Google read and then decide to remove even one comment, they then have to carefully police the lot?

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Trollface

Re: "They also can lose exemption if they monitor content."

YouTube comments have lots of mindless filth because the average Youtube commentard/troll has a mental age of 8 or 9, and sees "yu0r gay" as an intelligent put-down.

BTW there's no requirement for Google to police the lot, except maybe to respond to complaints about the defamatory or incitive stuff. I'd pity any poor bastard whose job it was to monitor that kind of shit all day long. You'd gouge your eyeballs out with a rusty spoon just to get some release.

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MrF

Re: "They also can lose exemption if they monitor content."

Not 'even one comment', but yes -- that's a good thumbnail characterization of how it works in the USA. It's an extension of an age-old principle that the *distributor* of a printed work has scant liability for its content.

The idea is that distributors perform limited review of the materials (content) being provided. No reasonable person would expect his local librarians to read (or edit) every page of every book & magazine, for example.

However, publishers are a different matter. Since they often employ editors and they deal directly with the authors, they are assumed to have greater opportunity for review of all content. This carries implied liability.

Establishing 'Net analogues was tricky. What is 'distribution' or 'publishing', online? After some legal wrangling, we got Section 230 of 1996's Telecommunications Act; it grants distributor immunity to 3rd-party content hosts.

Thus, if a site-owner elects to restrict or edit his user's content, he risks losing his 'distributor' status ('How could I know? I just host the stuff. I can't read/watch all of it!') and could face a different standard for liability.

Again, this is the US view. But in the jurisprudence biz, once somebody arrives at a reasonable-sounding precedent like this, you won't have to wait long before it has an impact on case law, pretty much everywhere.

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Re: "They also can lose exemption if they monitor content."

There is similar EU law. The EU directive I mention below has been (or should be) made into law in every EU country. It recognises the difference between hosting providers/search engines/ISPs, or what I would think of as infrastructure, and publishers like The Reg/blogs/news sites/etc who are responsible, as you say.

A recent defamation case worth looking at is Delfi AS v. Estonia - a news site tried to argue that they were a provider rather than a publisher, in order to escape liability for defamatory comments made by commentards. The ECHR didn't agree with their take on reality, and upheld the Estonian Supreme Court's decision.

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Common Sense in Italian Court Shocker

Bloody hell pigs do fly...Now if the Spanish could sort out their planning laws (and general housing policies), then I will start to believe the messiah is on his way.

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Flame

Re: Common Sense in Italian Court Shocker

Is it possible that their return to reality might extend to the Italian geologists who were convicted of involuntary manslaughter because a public official misinterpreted their analysis, and said there was no danger of an earthquake?

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Coat

What's Up With The Italian Legal System?

Google is an "information society service" as defined by s.17 of Directive 2000/31/EC, providing tools allowing for search, access and retrieval of data. They didn't create the video in question and took it down in a timely manner once alerted - within hours according to the Out-Law article - so I fail to see how they were originally found by a "tribunal" to have liability.

Given the sheer number of videos uploaded to Youtube daily, it would be impossible for Google to monitor every single one for content which any reasonable person would find offensive. Surely any sane person would understand that, but I suppose that illustrates the problem with any legal system run by old white guys with no technical know-how.

Italy is one European country I hope I'm never tried in... Given the levels of corruption I don't know how anybody could expect a fair go. This isn't a stereotype - the recent Transparency International report agrees:

A number of countries in southern Europe – Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain – are shown to have serious deficits in public sector accountability and deep-rooted problems of inefficiency, malpractice and corruption, which are neither sufficiently controlled nor sanctioned.

Mine's the coat with the wad of used bank notes in the pocket...

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Kim DotCom moves to Italy?

"The Court also confirmed that the MegaUpload Google executives could not be deemed to be data controllers since they were not responsible for setting the purpose and method of processing of personal data uploaded to its video platform."

What was Kim's defense again?

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Ironically

"Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient's assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their emails are processed by the recipient's [email provider] in the course of delivery,": Google

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/08/14/google_cloud_users_have_no_legitimate_expectation_of_privacy/

Thus, I hold my assistant responsible.

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