‘An Internet service provider cannot be answerable to the tort of invasion of privacy if the contents which infringes the rights of others have been uploaded online and released by Network subscribers or users.’ This is what has been established by the Supreme Court, putting an end to a lengthy procedure that involved some senior executives at Google.

Those responsible for this repulsive episode, which happened to a young man with Down syndrome, are the “bullies” who harassed him and who then uploaded the video on the Net.

Following this episode, Google – which provides an “Internet hosting provider” service – was accused of not having monitored the contents of the video in question.

The following are the most relevant points of the Sentence:

  • Google Video is a host provider. Even though it is the owner of the platform on which users can freely upload their own videos / films, google plays the role of a mere intermediary. The hosting provider does not know in advance what users will upload in the network, even if the material is of an offensive nature, but they will have to answer to the above when – once informed of this illegal content on its platform – do not act swiftly to remove it.
  • With regard to privacy and handling of personal data, there is no obligation on the part of the “Provider” subject to criminal penalties, to inform the person who entered the data of the existence and of the need to the application of the rules relating to the processing of data. This is because Google is not allowed to handle the sensitive data contained in the video, whereas the users who carry out the uploading are, and to whom criminal penalties and administrative provisions of the Privacy Code can be applied.
  • A full and effective preventive control, on the mass of videos uploaded by third parties, cannot be carried out by the hosting provider, given the enormous inflow of data. The above solution would be possible only through the creation of a preventive filter that even if it were provided for by law, it would be difficult to enforce because it is contrary to EU law according to which the provider does not have to “filter”.

For this reason, the sentence represents a significant step forward against online crimes committed at the expense of the weak. It is addressed to all those people, most of them minors, who spread on the web sensitive data or even defamatory material and who, hiding behind the hosting provider, are convinced that their actions will go unpunished.