Three senior Google executives, given six month suspended jail sentences in Italy in 2010 for data protection breaches relating to the content of a video post by a user in 2006, have been acquitted by an appellate court in Milan.

The Google executives, including Google’s chief privacy officer, were convicted following a trial which related to a video posted on Google Video in 2006 depicting an autistic boy being bullied by classmates. The clip was live for about two months and was only removed by Google following receipt of a complaint. In February 2010, an Italian court found the three executives criminally liable for data protection violations. The judgment stated that as a video hosting provider, Google controlled the processing of the data, and it failed to obtain consent from all parties depicted in the video in violation of the Italian Data Protection Code. The judgment received worldwide criticism since it resulted in an Internet service provider being held responsible for the content posted by its users.

According to a Reuters report, the appellate court held that “the possibility must be ruled out that a service provider, which offers active hosting, can carry out effective, pre-emptive checks of the entire content uploaded by its users.”