An Italian court has convicted three former Google executives of violations to Italy's privacy code early Wednesday morning. The decision comes after months of back and forth on the case, all of which began with a video uploaded by some delinquent teenagers of themselves beating on a classmate with Down Syndrome. Though the judge in the case absolved the executives of defamation charges (and a fourth was found not guilty of all charges), the verdict is shocking and is likely to have serious repercussions for sites that host user-generated content in Italy.
The three-minute video was uploaded in 2006 and had a short lifespan on Google Video Italia, as complaints were quickly lodged and it was pulled within hours. That didn't stop an Italian Down Syndrome support group called Vivi Down from arguing that it should never have appeared in the first place. The group filed a complaint that resulted in a two-year investigation, and eventually, Milan public prosecutor Francesco Cajani agreed that the Google execs had violated Italian law by allowing the video to be uploaded.