An Italian's judge's decision today to impose a six-month suspended jail sentence on Google 's global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer, and two other company executives over a video showing the bullying of a disabled teenager has evoked outrage in the privacy community.
Privacy advocates in the U.S and Europe called the sentence extremely troubling and said it creates a dangerous precedent. The case is believed to be the first time a privacy executive has been held accountable for his firm's actions.

Italian Judge Oscar Magi in Milan imposed the sentence and fines for Fleischer, Google's chief legal officer David Drummond and George Reyes, a former Google board member. The three executives and a fourth Google officer had also been charged with criminal defamation, but were found innocent by the judge.

The case arose from the posting of a video on Google's Italian Web site in September 2006 that showed the bullying of an autistic boy by a group of teenagers in Turin. Under European law, ISPs are not responsible for third-party content, but are required to remove any content considered offensive if someone complains about it.

Google received two complaints about the three-minute video, including one from the Italian Interior Ministry, and promptly took it down less than 24 hours after it was posted.

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