Eric Pfanner reports on the trial of four Google executives in Milan. They have been charged criminally in conjunction with a video that appeared on Google Video that showed a disabled student being set upon by four teens who actually taped and uploaded the video. Google executives have been charged with privacy invasion as well as other charges. The background of the case has been previously covered on PogoWasRight.org. Pfanner writes:
The Google executives are scheduled to present their defense this week, after prosecutors pressed their case last month, seeking one-year prison sentences for Mr. Fleischer and David Drummond, senior vice president and chief legal officer, and George Reyes, a former chief financial officer. Arvind Desikan, a marketing executive, faces a six-month sentence.
The executives deny the charges, saying they had nothing to do with the videos. If found guilty, none of the four would serve jail time because sentences of less than three years are commuted in Italy for people without criminal records. Still, the stakes are high for the executives — who have been charged because Italian law holds individuals responsible for corporate actions — as well as for Google.
If found guilty, the executives might not be able to serve on corporate boards or fulfill other functions that generally require a clean record. For Google, such a verdict might be hard to square with the company’s motto, “Don’t be evil,” especially at a time when its business is coming under fire from European publishers, who are pressing regulators and lawmakers to curb Google’s growing online presence.
Read more in The New York Times.