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Google Officials Cleared in Appeal in Italy Privacy Case

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- A Milan appeals court cleared two managers and a former executive of Google Inc., the world’s most-popular Internet search engine, on charges of privacy violations.

“We’re happy that the verdict has been reversed and our colleagues’ names have been cleared,” Google Italy Policy Manager Giorgia Abeltino said in a statement today.

In February 2010, David Drummond, Google’s senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer, and Peter Fleischer, global privacy counsel, and George Reyes, a former chief financial officer, were found guilty of privacy violations in the case, the first such conviction for Google employees. They were sentenced to six-month jail terms, which were suspended.

The executives were on trial on charges related to a clip uploaded to Google Video in 2006 by a group of Turin school students, who filmed themselves bullying an autistic classmate.

“While we are delighted with the appeal, our thoughts continue to be with the family who have been through the ordeal,” Abeltino said today.

Google has said it removed the video as soon as it was notified and helped Italian police identify those responsible.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chiara Remondini in Milan at cremondini@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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