The judge in the case, Oscar Magi, gave three current or former Google executives suspended six-month jail sentences, and a fourth was found not guilty, according to The Associated Press. The three sentences were for violation of privacy, but the judge found the three not guilty of defamation charges.
The findings come just one day after the European Union opened an antitrust investigation concerning Google search. There was a day when Google was an exciting newcomer to the technology landscape, but the company now is clearly a powerful force that has governments as well as competitors concerned.
In a Google blog post, the company criticized the decision and said it will appeal. "In essence this ruling means that employees of hosting platforms like Google Video are criminally responsible for content that users upload," Google said. "It is outrageous that they have been subjected to a trial at all."
Found guilty of privacy invasion in the case are David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer; Peter Fleischer, Google's chief privacy counsel; and George Reyes, Google's former chief financial officer. A fourth Google employee, Arvind Desikan, was cleared of all charges, Google said.
For more on this story, read Google execs convicted in YouTube Italy case on CNET News.