Italy: Court of Milan overturns 2010 convictions of Google executives over bullying video
In February 2010, the Court of Milan found all three Google executives guilty, and sentenced them to a six-month jail sentence for violation of data protection laws. The decision has been subject to fierce international criticism because, as the the New YorkTimes noted, it "turned upside down the freedom principles on which internet is grounded." The former Italian Data Protection President Francesco Pizzetti decried such decision as "wrong" and based on a "technical mistake."
Google appealed and the Court of Appeals overturned it, exonerating the three executives.
In so doing, the Court of Appeals drew a distinction between the processing of the video itself and the processing of the personal data depicted or contained in the uploaded video. According to the Court, such processing activities, and the respective "data controllers" should not be confused. With regard to the processing of the bullied boy's personal data, only the uploader (the classmate of the bullied child who actually uploaded the video to the Google sharing site) was obliged to obtain the consent from the video's subject (or from his parents). On the contrary, Google is only the "data controller" with regard to the uploader's personal data, but not with regard to the personal data of the individuals displayed in the video.
The court stressed that Google did not create the video, had no knowledge of the presence of it until it was notified of its existence by Vivi Down, and, most important here, was not able to verify the possibility that unlawfully processed sensitive data was contained in the video. In this respect, the Court also stated that data protection and e-commerce regulations are part of the same complete and coherent legal framework that, when read together, do not impose on the hosting provider a duty to monitor and assess the lawfulness of content uploaded by third parties. The Court of Appeal of Milan expressly referred to the ECJ decisions in the Sabam  and Netlog  cases, stressing that filtering systems could potentially undermine freedom of information, since they could not distinguish adequately between lawful and unlawful content.
 Case C‑70/10 Scarlet Extended v SABAM
 Case C-360/10 SABAM v Netlog