Google Woes in the EU Include Conviction for Executives Over Video Posting

13 March 2010 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Author(s): Peter Vogel

The recent conviction of 3 Google executives in Italy for a video posted on Google which showed the bullying of a disable teenager captured many headlines. No question that the video was in poor taste and Google took the video down within 24 hours of its posting after Google got 2 complaints. The conviction of the Google’s global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer and two other executives raises significant issues. A fourth Google executive was acquitted, and Google plans to appeal these convictions. Does it make sense that Google, or any other ISP (Internet Service Provider), be liable for content posted over which the ISP has no control? The US Communications Decency Act of 1996 protects ISPs from liability since they have no control over content posted. How Google fares with these convictions may have an interesting impact on ISPs around the world.

Google Street View May Breach EU Law

Only to make things more complicated recent reports that the Google’s Street View violates EU Data Protection laws since they retain the images for too long. As well it was reported that “Switzerland’s data-protection agency in November sued Google for allegedly failing to comply with proposals to make it harder to identify people and cars on Street View.” Of course disputes regarding Street View are not new since claims of breach of privacy have been under way since at least 2008 in Japan.

Google has More EU Antitrust Problems

ComScore recently reported that Google has about 79% of the searches in the EU and the EU renewed its investigation about Google anticompetitive behavior. Google claims that Microsoft may be the source of the investigation since Microsoft owns one of the companies that complained. It seems reasonable to assume that the search engine wars will continue, but how the EU ultimately rules may have a far reaching impact.

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