MILAN Italian prosecutors are preparing to file
charges against four current or former Google Inc executives
over a 2006 video on the Internet provider's Italian-language
site, court sources said on Friday.
The video shows a teenager with Down syndrome taunted by
Prosecutors have concluded an inquiry that could lead to
the executives being charged with defamation and failure to
exercise control over personal data, said the sources, who
spoke on condition of anonymity.
Under Italian law, the conclusion of an inquiry is usually
preparatory before the case goes to a judge to decide whether
charges should be filed. The story was first reported by the
Wall Street Journal on Friday.
The former and current Google executives include the top
legal representative and chairman of Google's Italian unit at
the time, a now-retired Google Italy board member, an executive
responsible for Google's privacy policies in Europe, and the
then-head of Google Video for Europe.
An Italian advocacy group for people with Down syndrome,
Vividown, and the boy's father lodged a complaint over the
video in November 2006.
The video was filmed from a mobile phone in late May or
early June 2006. It shows four male high school students in the
Italian city of Turin humiliating the youth with Down syndrome.
The four teens face charges in Turin over the case. Charges
could be dropped if they show a judge they have straightened
themselves out, Vividown attorney Guido Camera told Reuters.
A Google spokesman said the company would continue to
cooperate with Milan prosecutors "to show that all Googlers
under investigation have no involvement in the Vividown case."
(Additional reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore,
India; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)