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Google lawyers challenge Italian privacy case

Search giant seeks transfer of trial

Google lawyers have challenged the jurisdiction of a Milan court over a privacy case that sees four Google executives accused of defamation.

The lawyers argued that the case, which concerns a mobile-phone video showing a teenage boy with Down syndrome being tormented by classmates that was uploaded to Google Video three years ago, should be tried in Turin, where the incident took place.

Google lawyers Giuliano Pisapia and Giuseppe Vaciago also argued that another strand of the trial, regarding a woman who complains that Google has failed to update reports on her legal affairs to register the fact that she was ultimately acquitted of all charges, should be tried in Rome. Google is accused of misleading Italy's Privacy Authority in this aspect of the case, and the Authority is based in Rome, a lawyer attending the trial said in a telephone interview.

The prosecutor, Francesco Cajani, supported by lawyers for the plaintiffs, said the trial should remain in Milan because Google Italy has its headquarters there.

The defendants - George Reyes, a former chief financial officer; Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsellor; David Drummond, its chief legal officer; and Arvind Desikan, former head of Google Video Europe - risk a maximum three-year prison sentence if convicted.

Guido Camera, a lawyer representing Vivi Down, the association that originally drew attention to the bullying video, said he had supported the prosecutor's position that the case should remain in Milan. "I just hope that we don't lose more time and that we can start talking about substantive issues," Camera said in a telephone interview.

Judge Oscar Magi adjourned the case until April 21, when he is due to rule on his court's jurisdiction.

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