Italian Govt. Seeks Jail Time For Google Execs

The Associated Press reported that Italian prosecutors are seeking "six-month to a year sentences for four Google executives Wednesday over an Internet video showing the bullying of a teenager with Down's Syndrome."

The Italian government believes Google had a responsibility of the published video when it was placed on YouTube, one of their properties.

The Google executives on trial are David Carl Drummond, the head of Google Italy's managing board at the time; George De Los Reyes, a board member who has since quit; Peter Fleitcher, in charge of privacy protection in Europe; and Arvind Desikan, head of videos for Europe.

Google claims they did exactly what is required under European and Italian law.

Peter Fleitcher, on his personal blog, stated "I won't be attending my trial in Milan in person. I'll be represented by outside counsel. I believe that each of my 3 co-defendants has reached the same conclusion. As for me, I'm under clear instructions from my outside counsel not to set foot in Italy, at all. That's a tragedy, since I love Italy."

He also outlined the timeline for the prosecution, "the Prosecutors present their case today, November 25. The Google employees' lawyers will present their defense on December 14 and a verdict should be issued on December 23."

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.