Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Italian Supreme Court has acquitted me !

An eight-year legal saga has now come to an end.  Yesterday, in Rome, the Italian Supreme Court (Cassazione) acquitted me, as well as two other Googlers, for violating Italian privacy law in a case that stemmed from a user-generated video. 

A year ago, the lower Italian Court of Appeals overturned my conviction (and 6-month-suspended jail sentence) by the trial court.  I am pleased that well-reasoned legal principles had prevailed in the Court of Appeals.  The Supreme Court will issue its written opinion in due course.
In its appeal to the Supreme Court, the Italian prosecutor asserted—in addition to arguing that employees like me can be held criminally responsible for user-uploaded videos that we had no knowledge of and nothing to do with—that platforms like YouTube should be responsible for prescreening user-uploaded content and obtaining the consent of people shown in user-uploaded videos.  I, and the many others who have voiced their support, viewed this as a threat to freedom of expression on the Internet.  

I look forward to returning to Italy to enjoy this glorious country.  I would like to thank my many colleagues at Google and in the legal and privacy community for their support for my defense over the years.  And although I have never met him, I hope that the young man who was humiliated in the video that generated this case lives with dignity and happiness.